One glance has already told you, this website is not the work of a professional. And it isn't that we don't get the message about how important it is for a church to have a really good website (Christian web designers send us that message on a regular basis). It's just that, looking at samples of their work makes me think it wouldn't be honest for us to have a website like that. We could never live up to it.

You have probably noticed this already and were too polite to mention it, so we will say it for you. This website is, let's be honest, a bit of a mess. It is functional: with very little effort you can catch up on this week's preaching, find out what's going on and where, leave a rude message for the Pastor, what more does one need? But it just looks like... a bit of a mess. Like we couldn't be bothered to make an effort, you know? (Which is most unfair: really it is. We've tried awfully hard, honestly we have. And whatever we do with it, it ends up looking like, well you know of course, you're looking at it.) And you can't help wondering, can you "What on earth does that say about the church?"

 I reckon most of it is true.

We are a bit of a mess. 

If you were looking, right now, at one of those neat, monochrome, smoothly working sites with everything organized around the single, catchy vision statement, you would get entirely the wrong idea about us. We aren't neat, we're definitely not monochrome. We Bible study and we pray in Urdu and Nepali, in Hindi and Malalayam, in Romanian and Hungarian, in Spanish and Latvian as well as in English that comes from the Caribbean and from Africa as much as from the British Isles The vision of making disciples is perfectly clear and simple but we'd be lying if we told you it was a vision shared by everyone in this church family. Some of us just belong, we haven't found out why, yet. That's not very tidy but it's in the nature of making disciples. As long as we stick to that task, I reckon we'll always be a bit of a mess. 

 So, looking at this website, at least you don't get any false expectations!

 

 

There is no Friday party during September. The next one is on 5th October.

 

SAFEGUARDING POLICY STATEMENT FOR MILL ROAD BAPTIST CHURCH

 

 

 

We meet as the family of God in heart of our community and God’s family keeps its doors open: therefore we welcome all people into our community including many people who are at risk, whoare unable to protect themselves from harm and who rely on us to protect them. Whether they are children or adults, regardless of gender, ethnicity, ability or creed, we recognize our responsibilities to safeguard all who come into contact with us.

 

 

 

Our safeguarding responsibilities

 

As members of this church we commit ourselves to the nurturing, protection and safekeeping of all associated with the church and will pray for them regularly. In pursuit of this, we commit ourselves to this policy and to the development of sound procedures to ensure we implement our policy well.

 

  • Prevention and reporting of abuse

 

It is the duty of each church member to help prevent the abuse of people at risk, and the duty of each church member to respond to concerns about the well-being of people at risk. Any abuse disclosed, discovered or suspected will be reported in accordance with our procedures. The church will fully co-operate with any statutory investigation into any suspected abuse linked with the church.

 

  • Safer recruitment, support and supervision of workers

 

The church will exercise proper care in the selection and appointment of those working with people at risk, whether paid or voluntary. All workers will be provided with appropriate training, support and supervision to promote the safekeeping of people at risk.

 

  • Safer working practices

 

The church is committed to providing an environment that is as safe as possible for people at risk and will adopt ways of working with them that promote their safety and well-being.

 

  • A safer community

 

In Jesus’ name thischurch is committed to loving God and loving one another; so in the name of Jesus it will confront, oppose and prevent any behaviour that interferes with that commitment. (Bullying, manipulation and gossip, for example). The church will seek to ensure that the behaviour of any individuals who may pose a risk to children, young people and adults at risk in the community of the church is managed appropriately.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worship: have you ever thought what a visiting alien might make of the word ‘worship’?

 

Two people are leaving a church: one asks the other “What did you think of the worship?” and receives the reply “I didn’t get much out of it.” What do they mean? The alien doesn’t know but concludes that worship must be some kind of activity arranged for their benefit by the organisers in that building. Alien resolves to investigate.

 

Next, Alien is watching the news and sees footage of a congregation leaving a church. The voiceover refers to these people as ‘worshippers.’ Alien now wonders whether ‘worshippers’ is a kind of collective noun for ‘churchgoers.’ Perhaps worship consists of attending church every Sunday. Being a member of the congregation must make you a worshipper. It must be a fairly passive activity.

 

Feeling that the matter deserves further investigation, Alien attends church one Sunday and listens carefully to what is being said amongst the congregation. “Oh yes, the preacher’s awful but then I only really come for the worship!” From this Alien concludes that ‘the worship’ is only one particular segment of that Sunday morning activities and does not involve the main speaker.

 

Matters seem to be becoming clearer still when Alien discovers that the church musicians are commonly referred to as the ‘worship group.’ He forms a working hypothesis that ‘worship’ is a musical activity that takes place in and around a church. This is confirmed when he finds out that when a large number of Christians talk about ‘the worship’ they are indeed referring to the music, usually singing.

 

But then Alien hears the following snippet of conversation: “Oh I only really have my best times of worship when I’m out with the dog, enjoying nature.” Intrigued, he follows the speaker as she walks the aforementioned dog only to discover that she looks and sounds just like any other dog-walker in the local park. There is no music at all in this sort of ‘worship.’    

 

The last straw, for Alien, comes when he hears someone saying “Well, of course, the whole of my life is worship.” At this point poor Alien is strongly tempted to give up on the whole project. Does this person spend their whole life attending church? Are they singing from dusk to dawn? Does ‘worship’ turn out to be one of those words that means almost anything people want it to and therefore ends up meaning practically nothing?

 

Well, is it?

 

‘Worship means intimacy’ someone once told me and the evidence that they presented in support of that was a certain Greek word (proskyneo, in case you’re interested) which does indeed mean something like ‘to come towards to kiss.’

 

Except that, in the Bible, it’s not that kind of kiss. When they used that Greek word to translate the Hebrew Old Testament they were most often using it to say that someone bowed down before someone else (like Abraham does in Genesis 18:2). When you bow down low like that with your face to the ground the only things you are capable of kissing are somebody else’s feet which is rather the point: when a lesser king or his ambassador appeared before another, greater king in order to ask for his support or protection he would pay homage to him; he would bow down and kiss his feet (like Abraham does with the Hittite rulers in Genesis 23:7.)

 

Now there definitely is intimacy in that kiss but it says something very different to what a full on lip-to-lip smooch would say. It says “I am totally subject to your authority” “You are far, far greater than I” “I need your protection” “All that I am I lay before you” it does not say “I have strong feelings for you” or “You’re mine” nor yet “One look from you is rapture.”

 

David understands the kiss of homage. He gives it to Jonathan [1 Sam 20:44] and Saul [1 Sam 24:8] receives it from Abigail [1 Sam 25:23] while she is still Nabal’s wife and from Mephibosheth [2 Sam 9:6-8] and then at the lowest point of his story; exposed as a murderer and an adulterer, he rises from the death-bed of his infant son and gives that kiss of homage to God [2 Sam 12:18-20]. He is not telling God how he feels about him, he is telling God what he knows about him, that he is Lord and that David isn’t.

 

There has been a kind of revolution in songs of worship in my lifetime. Many of them are simply about voicing the desire for intimacy with God. Nothing wrong with that so long as we understand what kind of intimacy the Bible talks about; it’s not the kind that proceeds from our feelings but from the facts. He is Lord, so in approaching him we come off our pedestal and bow down to him, we humble ourselves, we submit ourselves.

 

Now, why is it so important to know that? Sometimes people do have the most overwhelming feelings of love for God, that’s not wrong is it? Absolutely not! But you also hear other people saying sadly “I just couldn’t join in with the worship this morning: if you felt like I did, you wouldn’t want to kiss him!” people who have let God down and messed up other people’s lives in the process, people who have only feelings of pain and confusion. They need to know that they can join in at will with no danger of hypocrisy because this intimacy isn’t the kiss of passion which starts from our feelings, it’s the kiss of homage which starts from the facts: in this relationship there is one Lord and it is not me.