Howland’s Baptist Church

“Loving God Loving People”


Fellowship News                       May 2021


Our Dear Brothers, Sisters, and Friends,

Greetings and welcome to the May edition of the Howland’s Baptist Church Fellowship News. Thank you for the feedback on the Online Church Service of the 25th April.  It was good to have Simon Cragg preaching, and I feel sure we are not the only ones left with food-for-thought  considering if we are taking the bits of Jesus that are easy to handle, and disregarding those that are more challenging? We are grateful for his and other preachers' support. We have had encouraging feedback on this sermon and the service in general, and for that we praise God and give thanks. The introduction of subtitles to our services we continue working on, it is hoped this will help those with impaired hearing. This is a new thing for us, and we appreciate your feedback. 


Claire Plank has been a valued Deacon at HBC for three years, her term is now up and she has decided to stand down. We sent her a bouquet of flowers from us all  with love and gratitude for all she has done.                                                                                                       

Regarding pastor for Howlands B.C, there are no further updates from the Spurgeon's College. The Deacons will keep you informed as soon as we have any updates.


This month we have had a series of church development meetings, informal gatherings  on Zoom, to chat over your ideas, and thoughts as to the way forward for Howlands. For those who are not using Zoom, or e-mail we have arranged phone calls. 


Remember if you wish to take communion and or have a prayer over the telephone please contact Stuart, he will make the necessary arrangements. 


God bless and keep praying

Stuart and Elaine x

HBC Deacons



Should you want to try the fortnightly Sunday Services this is the information needed for a loved one or person in your bubble to give you access on (, the after service Zoom Home Café (I/D 845-025-6358 PW 873022). The Howlands Baptist Church website ( and Facebook page can be easily accessed.  




  • Pray for our church leadership and the way ahead and to always seek the Lord’s guidance, to have courage to follow His path whatever that may be.

  • Continue to pray for Lesley Ragg and her brother as they care for their parents.

  • Continue to pray for Gillian and Peter Myer and Gillian's Mum Joyce.

  • Please pray for Christian churches around the world where the congregation faces local opposition and security challenges,  in places such as Iraq, Syria,  and Egypt.


If you feel the need for us to pray as a fellowship for something in your life, a family member or neighbours life, please send a message requesting  The Prayer Chain by email or a phone call to Stuart on 07572871447 or



Junior church will be meeting on Zoom fortnightly. The future dates are Sunday 16th May and fortnightly after that at 11:00 A.M.  For any further information contact Fang. 



Our prayer meetings will with immediate effect be held on Wednesday at 8.00 P.M on Zoom. Please do try to attend these, to spend time lifting each other up in prayer, for the big and little situations, the spiritual and the practical things in our lives, the international, national and local situations. We must be a prayerful church, to seek God’s guidance, direction, help in all matters, and give thanks for His grace and mercy. 

To join these Zoom Meetings: This is the passcode and ID for all prayer meetings: Meeting ID: 882 9469 6066 Passcode: 524536


Despite the time seems slowing down with this pandemic, many things have changed in these last few months, both at the personal and professional level. First of all, I will start a new job beginning of July and move to a new area of France. As you know with the Covid 19 crisis I have been more and more involved in chaplaincy. The French Protestants Association, I was already working for, offered me a full-time chaplain role for the Gard area (Les Cevennes). I will be the chaplain for three care homes and a hospital for the elderly.

La Fondation des Diaconesses is a well respected protestant charity in France working among the most vulnerable. This charity includes an order of sisters - the deaconesses - and they are seen as "the guardians" of the strong christian ethos of this organization. Les Cevennes have a very rich history. People familiar with the French protestant history will know that Les Cevennes have a special place in France's Protestant history.

During the XVIth century the first protestants - the Huguenots - met in the small villages of this area. Persecuted for their faith by the King and his Church, these isolated mountains were ideal for secret meetings. The Cevenols were also known for their courage and strength. Most of them were poor peasants but eager to learn more about the bible, and they had all sort of technics to hide the book forbidden by the authorities: some women could for example hide a very small bible in their hair bun. Religious wars lasted for centuries in France and many Huguenots had to run away and leave for the United Kingdom or other countries in Europe and sometimes as as America.

We have so far not found anyone to replace me at the church or at the care home. The church cannot afford a paid pastor and anyway France has not overall enough pastors to cover the needs. Philip and Rosemary Halliday will be able to support the recently appointed leadership team and to provide spiritual support and guidance, but Philip and Rosemary have many other responsibilities. Please pray for the church as we seek solutions to carry on what has been developed during these four years. Please pray for Philip and Rosemary Halliday as they take some additional responsibilities. Please pray for the care home as they look for a new chaplain. Please pray for all the practical aspects of my new role: finding a new place to live, building a new network, finding a church...

There will be no opportunities for a farewell in person but I will produce videos that could then be used in church service and I will send a last prayer letter in June. I would like to thank you for all your support and prayers during these five years with BMS. If you want to stay in touch please let me know. Since 2016 the world has changed not always for the better, but God has always been faithful. May we all know His peace and His comfort despite the uncertainty of these times.


If you are part of our fellowship family, but have not become an “official member” you may not understand the difference.  Being an official member gives you voting rights on the decisions made in the fellowship and if you wish to discuss this further please speak to the Deacons.


We recently sent care packages of biscuits out to those in the fellowship who are not online or on email. This was to say from us all that they are in our thoughts.  They were gratefully received and asked that we put a big thank you in this edition of  The Fellowship Newsletter. 


Fang’s House Group: This is a group meeting fortnightly on Zoom and we have been studying Psalm 86 and will be moving on to Psalm 63 (A prayer of longing for God).  Meeting fortnightly on Thursday evenings at 8:00 P.M, the next scheduled Zoom meet is on 13th May.  Any enquiries contact Fang.

Saturday Zoom Prayer & Communion Group.  This group meets weekly on Saturday at 10:45 A.M. For information contact Stuart.


We take communion regularly at the online services, but what about you?  We could do communion or pray with you over the phone if you like, just let Stuart know in order that we can arrange a time.


If any other members have read something of interest or a specific part of the Bible that they feel worth a deeper dive or comment, please let us know. It’s great to get feedback on what people are reading to supplement their learning of the Christian message during this lock down.


( Go online and take a look.



Go online and take a look.


We discussed the production of a monthly Newsletter, well here it is, this being the fourth edition. It has details of all the activities at Howland’s Baptist Church, including the Online Church Project. It also contains interesting community information.  It is so important that we are all aware of what we are doing.  Alex Gray is producing this Newsletter to keep all our church community informed and  engaged, please let us know if you have anything you would like to add to the newsletter for the next monthly edition (June). You can send material for inclusion by email to or call him on tel: 07305 837272 .  

God bless and love in Jesus’ name.

Alex Gray:Fellowship Newsletter Coordinator.

Stuart Soper Howland’s Baptist Church Coordinator   0757287144

Image by Greg Rosenke
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