250th Celebration Weekend

What a fantastic weekend! On Saturday 14th September, Bessels Green Baptist Church held our 250th anniversary Fun Day! 250 years to the day from the church’s first meeting. The Fun Day was held on Bessels Green and around 500 guests and 70 volunteers enjoyed the sunshine at what was a quintessentially English village affair!

A vast array of different stalls and games were positioned around the green. Inflatables, a smoothie bike, pony rides and face painting were amongst the activities on offer. It was so good to see the village green alive with community activity.

The smallest guests appreciated the kids’ activity tent; hook a duck, parachute games and biscuit decorating. For those with lots of energy and bounce, a challenging inflatable obstacle course was available, alongside a kids’ disco and the grand finale, a fiercely competitive tug-o-war!

For those wanting a more sedate afternoon, the Victorian café and cake stall held in the church itself were most inviting. Visitors to the church could enjoy a display of the church’s history, together with a glimpse of all that goes on at BGBC today. 

For many the highlights were the art competition and the dog show. 30 plus dogs and their owners competed to win, amongst others, waggiest tail, scruffiest dog and best trick. The afternoon ended with a prize giving. 

Apart from ice creams or drinks from the King’s Head Pub all the activities were 100% free, our gift to the community to celebrate 250 years of God’s goodness to us.

Here’s some of the feedback we have received since.

One couple who had got lost on their way to Hever Castle and stopped by when they saw our bouncy castles. “It is fantastic” they said. “It’s all free and to make it even better when we went in for a tea, we found there were gluten free options for our kids – completely unexpected. Thank you so much!”

“Thank you to you and the whole church community for such a lovely fun day and 250th celebration of the church. It is really such a welcoming church. Truly many, many thanks.”

“Just a brief thank you for staging the most enjoyable fun day last Saturday. Myself and my family felt truly welcome and appreciated all the hard work of your congregation. May your good works continue for another 250 years.”

So, a big thank you to everyone who helped or came along. We’re already being asked when we are holding the next one!

Then, the following day, on Sunday the 15th we held a service of celebration and thanksgiving. The church was full to bursting with friends and family, old and new, joining together as we gave thanks to God. 

We welcomed writer, speaker and unlicensed historian Nick Page to speak. Nick personalised his sermon by drawing on the history of Bessels Green Baptist Church and challenged us to be a community that continues to invite all to experience the abundant life found in relationship with God. 

It was a particular delight to welcome back Normal Tharby, Stuart Woodward and Neil Durling, who along with Charlie and Andy have led the church from 1982 to the present day.

Our celebrations concluded with lunch together and an opportunity for folk to catch up with old friends.

All in all, a fitting celebration. 250 years ago, there was no internet, no television or telephone. The car and even the steam engine had yet to be invented. Who knows what our world will look like in 250 years’ time! 

For now, we return to the faithful work of serving God week in week out; as we worship together on Sundays, gather community together around the arts and sport and as we seek to serve the community through the seniors’ lunch club, baby plus and our youthwork. 

But in the midst of all the activity we seek to be a place where we can celebrate and laugh, grieve and struggle together. To be a place where people can explore the big questions about life and where we are met by the God who holds us and all things together in love.

Grace and peace,

Rev Charlie Ingram

Charlie is the senior minister at Bessels Green Baptist Church, services are at 10am and 4.30pm on Sundays at BGBC and 10am at the Pavilion in Dunton Green. For more information about Bessels Green Baptist Church and the various activities you could be involved in during the week please visit bgbc.co.uk or contact us here.

Thanks to the editorial committee of Chevening News and the King’s Head Pub, both of whom helped by sponsoring the day in different ways.

Photo credits: Paul Sanders and Rick Woodward