Forest of Dean Community Church, Cinderford, Gloucestershire

Going for Growth through Pastoral Care
in the Forest of Dean

Rural Ministries’ partner, the Forest of Dean Community Church, has several pastoral outreaches and these, together with numerical growth, meant that they had outgrown the building they owned and were having to meet at the at the local High School on Sundays. Community Minister Duncan Murray takes up the story.

The situation needed a resolution - we had looked and looked at different options but nothing was suitable. We continued to pray and seek God’s guidance, and then, a year ago, at a Senior Leadership meeting, we had a sense of God saying to us, “what’s in your hands?”. Well, the short answer was the building in Station Street. It was nice and homely, but totally landlocked by other buildings, had a tiny car park and no space to expand. This did not seem like the answer we were looking for.

But God sees the bigger picture and has a plan. A few days later, the lady with the biggest property adjacent to ours passed away and the family was prepared to sell it to us. It was everything we needed and enough land for a car park. “There’s just one problem, Lord” we cried, “we don’t have any money!” We prayed a lot more and at our first ever Church Gift Day we were astounded by the generosity and sacrificial giving of so many. Next, individuals and Christian institutions gave or loaned us money and prayed with us and stood alongside us.

Gradually, this huge (for us, that is) project began. God brought along the right people in the church to manage the project, we drew up plans and put in applications.

God was with us all the way and gave us favour with the local community, the town planners and local businesses too, with several £1,000’s of goods, labour and services donated for the project. Then, with temporary site buildings for the children’s work and Community Hub meetings in place, we appointed a builder and work commenced.

On Christmas Day 2016, when we think of the birth of Hope for our world, we held our first Sunday service for seven years in the Station Street building. This was then followed in January by our first Baptism service in the building. One person baptised was Aaron, the young man who project managed the work, and Jacquie a mum who has come through our parent and toddler group. Praise the Lord.