Bromley Town Church Celebrates 30 years!
During the month of May 2020 we have been celebrating our church's 30th Anniversary with stories and testimonies from the people that are Bromley Town Church. Pastor Jonathan and Helen, together with their two young children Charlotte and Henry, were here right at the beginning and part of the church plant from Biggin Hill Christian Fellowship back in May 1990:
"Back at that time we were excited as we looked forward to a new adventure, and here we are 30 years later and in one sense it feels exactly the same.
You are never exactly sure what is going to happen next, but we have experienced that God is good, and that He leads and guides His people. We have seen many people connect with God and grow in their faith with him. Some have been with us only a short time and others for many years, but we have been so blessed to see God touch lives, strengthen faith and establish many disciples.
We know that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever. So He who has helped us this far will continue to help us in the days that lie ahead. So, here is to the next 30 years!" Pastor Jonathan McGill
How it all began...
Bromley Town Church’s story began with people from a number of churches in West Wickham and Coney Hall travelling to Biggin Hill Christian Fellowship. They were hungry to be part of a wonderful move of the Holy Spirit, where worship was ‘in spirit and in truth’, and the presence of God each Sunday was palpable. So many lives were changed forever during that time.
Far from being experience focused, there was a growing, deep yearning to be such a church in their own local communities, and so in May 1990, a group of about 50 excited people, comprising a broad spectrum of ages and cultures, began meeting at Wickham Common Primary School. West Wickham Christian Fellowship had been planted!
A new name and a new place to meet!
We had already made one move as a congregation to Hawes Down Junior School, but in early 1996, we began the first step of our next journey. There had been a sense from God that we were to move in to the centre of Bromley, and so in obedience to that call, we left West Wickham and starting meeting in Ravensbourne School, closer to, but not in the town centre. In faith, the name of our church congregation was also changed to Bromley Town Church.
A building of our own...
We had been a growing but nomadic church for about 7 years, moving to three different venues, hauling equipment from cupboards and under stages early each Sunday morning. So, to acquire our present building in 1997, then known as Saxon House and right in the middle of our mission field, was to enter our Promised Land.
However, like moving into any new home that needs some renovating, there was a lot of work to be done, and so it was all hands on deck for a while.
Bromley Town Church was now becoming established right in the heart of Bromley Town Centre. Our mission? To love God and love our neighbours.
With a building of our own there was so much more we could do within our local community and as a church family growing in faith together. We were able to have a baptistry built into the main meeting hall, start a weekly baby and toddler group for young families, open a curry club where a fortnightly 2-course evening meal was served to anyone sleeping rough or facing hard times, and we were able to host many exciting outreach events. We had a base for mid week meetings, offices for the leaders and staff, and room to expand our children's work on Sunday mornings.
So now, here we are 30 years since that small congregation was first planted in West Wickham. We have had the privilege and joy of many people joining with us over the years, sometimes just for a season, while others have put roots down and continued the journey with us. Children have grown up through our kids and youth work, some who are now serving in the church and encouraging the next generation, and some now even have families of their own. Young leaders have emerged and gifting has been realised and released in all ages of the church family.
Of course, as in every family there have been difficult times, heartbreak and loss. We have sometimes experienced the challenge of maintaining good relationships when disagreements occur, have walked the journey with those suffering with ill health, family breakdowns and financial hardships, and we have felt the pain of losing dear members of the church who have passed away all too soon. But through everything we can testify that God is good and has been with us every step of the way, helping us navigate through whilst refining us to be more like His Son, Jesus.
Being set apart for God and to live for His purposes, together with daily devotion to prayer and reading the Bible has been a central theme of the teaching in this church. Loving God, and loving our neighbour is what we're all about.
What Happens Next?
The honest answer is that we don't know. Right now, like everyone we are embracing the challenges of lockdown due to Covid 19. Our living, active community of believers that make up Bromley Town Church will tell you that church is definitely not about a building. This current season is proving that to be truer than ever. We may be in lockdown but God is certainly not.
Our church family is meeting regularly in small and larger groups throughout the week on Zoom, for prayer times, reading the Bible together, and just for fun. We are encouraging one another to keep our eyes on Jesus and listen to what God is saying to us during this time, to be outward looking in finding ways of being a blessing to our neighbours and to anyone we know who is in need, especially at this time.
We hope that we will soon be able to begin opening our building once again for small group meetings and eventually to all come back together under one roof for our Sunday services. Won't that be a time of celebration and praise to God?
If you are reading this and have not visited Bromley Town Church before, we would love to meet you, either now online or someday when we can open up our building again. Come and join us on Sunday mornings online or say 'hello' to us at [email protected].