Supportive church community in N Norfolk village
The members of Worstead Baptist Church have been supporting their local community during the current pandemic, with the benefits reaching out across North Norfolk. Tony Rothe reports.
The church is based at the chapel in the tiny village of Meeting Hill, near North Walsham. The minister is Rev Patrick Coghlan, who is also chaplain to Aylsham Care Trust.
Patrick has been sending out a weekly letter of greeting and ministry material, either by post or e-mail, which the recipients can use at 10.30am on a Sunday, as if they were meeting normally at church. This is still going out to some people, even though the church is open again now.
Patrick has also been phoning round people on the ‘list’ offering support and encouragement – and praying with those who would like it, whilst his wife June has been cooking and delivering meals for some of those people.
One of the deacons, Andrew Squirrell, delivered boxes full of firewood during the colder part of the lock-down, and many people from the fellowship have been making phone calls to each other.
Once it was permitted, the church began ‘Picnic and Prayer’ by meeting as a small group in the church yard with chairs and picnics to pray together.
Patrick says, “We have simply been trying to offer support and encouragement to each other in the fellowship - to ‘keep going’, physically, mentally and spiritually. It began with just folk from the fellowship, but the ‘list’ got longer as time went by. It covers people from North Walsham, Aylsham, Cromer and Sheringham and the surrounding areas now.”
Worstead Baptist Church is now open again for Sunday morning worship at 10.30am every week. The building is quite large, and the congregation is a small one, which means social distancing is feasible, and they can welcome people in from other churches, whose own fellowships have not yet opened – or those who do not have a regular place of worship.
“Some people are still sheltering from the virus – so we are still supporting them in many of these ways” explained Patrick, “We are a very small fellowship, but we try to be a caring, Christian community – demonstrating Jesus’ love in practical ways as well as spiritual. We would love to see more people coming to join with us for Sunday worship.”
Patrick’s latest book ‘Rooted in God’ is a resource written very much with the present crisis in mind. Read more about this here.
Co-ordinator: Rev Patrick Coghlan
What is being done: Keeping in contact with people through phone/ email/ letters, offering practical support and encouragement, with a particular bearing on mental health.
Catchment area: Practical help in Meeting Hill village, but with phone calls and e-mails to recipients across North Norfolk.
Project base: Meeting Hill Baptist Church, NR28 9LR
Contact details: Please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The photo shows Patrick Coghlan with some of the many books he has written.