Sunday, 26 June 2011
Wokingham Baptist Church
It's a beautiful sunny Sunday morning. I got up, I thought "I need a change", I did a quick skim through local-ish churches, and I decided to travel out to Wokingham to visit the baptist church there.
Why Wokingham Baptist? Because I've never been there, because it's (in theory) a twenty minute scooter ride away, because a very good visiting preacher we had a few months back has a link with there, and because long ago I worked in Wokingham for a while so I reckoned that if the church wasn't as easy to find as it seemed, I had a fighting chance of finding it anyway. It duly wasn't as easy to find as it appeared, and I did manage to find it only a minute or two late, so that worked well.
As you can probably see from the picture, from the outside the building is a weird mixture of Victorian and modern; inside it feels spacious: attractively light and airy. Worship was fairly modern and informal, led this week by the church's 'youth specialist', ably supported by a band and singers. Everyone, young and old, worshipped together at the beginning, then the congregation broke by age group. I'd guess in total there were something like 140, 150 people there this morning.
Early in the service, information was presented about a big schools project that the church is currently involved in, with a variety of opportunities available for church members to take part in praying for this work. Looking at their notice sheet gives me the impression that this is a church with a balance between outward-looking and internal-fellowship activities.
The church is 'between pastors' at the moment; this morning's preacher, I would guess, doesn't preach that often. Nevertheless, she was clear, well-prepared, and interesting. She made her points well, including a link I hadn't previously made, between the people's choice to free Barabbas - a violent freedom fighter - and Jesus' later words about the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem. Oddly, though, she didn't tie this into current affairs: Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Syria, etc would be a natural link; instead she stayed rather 'spiritual' in focus. Still, a sermon worth listening to.
Tea and coffee were available afterwards (although it wasn't obvious where), and people were very friendly. I'd say that, for anyone in the Wokingham area, Wokingham Baptist Church is well worth a visit, especially if you are not a regular churchgoer and want to try somewhere that is likely to be warm, friendly and accepting.