A History of SABN
For a fairly long time Baptists in Southend area did very little together, apart from the churches in the Leigh cluster (who had some history of doing something together). In 2011 there was a desire amongst ministers to begin to explore how we might increase the fellowship between our churches. In May 2011 Ivan King (Church from Scratch) shared a powerful image of whether as churches we were marbles or honeycombs. A jar of marbles sit alongside one another, but share nothing with other marbles apart location. However a honeycomb is an integral part of six other honeycombs, so what happens to one has an effect on the other. The journey since has been trying to explore how we might move from being marbles to honeycombs.
The next key date is October 2012, when for the first time in a long time churches gathered together for worship at Belle Vue Baptist Church with each church displaying something of their life and how they were connected together.
After some delay we met at West Leigh Baptist in February 2014 and began the process towards covenanting together, which we did at Avenue Baptist Church in June 2014.
Since then we have met together at Earls Hall Baptist Church and Hawkswell Baptist Church
It’s been a slow journey, and churches and ministers have engaged in different ways, but at its heart and at its best, there is a commitment to see our life together as churches in worship, mission, mutual support and encouragement. Not as an extra or add on to our being churches, but as a necessity to our shared witness and life.
As part of our growing relationship we served together in a local estate which then culminated in a joint act of worship over three sites at which Rev Hannah Bucke, a Methodist Southend Town Centre Chaplain spoke. A video of the community event and Hannah’s sermon is below.