Church of the Year 2022
Colne Avenue Baptist Church, Southampton
The vision for Colne Avenue Baptist Church (CABC) has two intertwined themes, "To know Jesus and to make Jesus know"
One part of the church's response to the call to help others come to know Jesus is to faithfully serve the community of Millbrook and the surrounding are in practical ways. These include providing during the school holidays, in partnership with ABRI (a local Housing Association), 'The Good Grub Club' for children and families who rely on free school meals; a Thursday coffee morning; a mother and toddler group (Little Lambs) on a Wednesday morning; and a Job Club on alternate Tuesdays, again in partnership with ABRI.
Ten years or more ago, the church had a vision to establish a Community Café in Millbrook. This was to provide a safe, wholesome and regular place for the local community to meet, chat and enjoy a good value drink and/or snack. The café would be run and managed by the church with the help of volunteers from the community as appropriate.
Some six months ago the church agreed to move forward with the vision and established a project team to develop the idea further.
We are in the process through various meetings and discussions with advisors, interested parties and potential partners to firm up our plans. ABRI have expressed potential financial support for he further development of the main kitchen area to enable provision of the Good Grub Club and are keen to see a Community Café established in the area.
We are excited to have Rachel Watson, a mental health chaplain who has been working with the Southampton Mental Health Network and is a Newly Accredited Baptist Minister, come alongside us with her vision for a Community/Wellbeing Café in Millbrook. We should not be amazed when God moves and brings His people together to express His love for the vulnerable and lost.
Further funding will be required to enable our joint vision to be realised. With God behind us, all will be provided.
There is a huge problem with isolation and poor mental health in Southampton, particularly in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions and NHS and Council resources are extremely stretched. People can easily fall between the cracks and become lonely and overlooked. There is an increased need to identify what voluntary services and resources are available to help reduce social isolation and for the gaps in provision to be filled. That's where we as a local church in the heart of the community can play our part. The area of Millbrook was identified as having high social needs as well as very high rates of deprivation, coupled with very sparse resources to meet those needs.
It is our belief that God wants all people to flourish and live well, whatever their situation in life, or the experiences they have had. All are welcome in His kingdom, and the church has a long tradition of offering hospitality to her neighbours. In Hebrews 13:1-3 we are encouraged to 'Keep on loving one another as brothers and sister. Do no forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.'
A Community Café with a wellbeing focus is an ideal way to provide a safe space for people to meet. The café will provide a space to offer hospitality to all parts of the community, but because of its wellbeing focus will be able to provide support for all who are finding life difficult for whatever reason. Colne Avenue Baptist Church is ideally placed in the community in Millbrook.
Helpful links will be developed with other agencies who support people who have mental illness, and their carers, for example Solent Mind, as well as other advisory groups and charities. In addition to volunteers from Colne Avenue Baptist Church, Peer Support volunteers could be trained and enable to support the café.
To support Colne Avenue Baptist Church in their vital project, please email Amy
for the BACS details, or send a cheque made payable to 'Southern Counties Baptist Association' to Baptist House, 129 Broadway, Didcot Oxon, OX11 8XD.