10th December 2021 to 9th January 2022
12th December 2021
Carol Service - 10:30am
Carols by Candlelight 6:00pm
19th December 2021
Nativity - Family Service - 10:30am

25th December 2021
Christmas Service - 10:30am (Will not be streamed)
Tom Bowring

NO Service on Sunday 26th December 2021

2nd January 2022

OBC 2022 - 10:30am
Tom Bowring

9th January 2022
Judges - Where we are - 10:30am
Tom Bowring
Sunday Services
(This service is also streamed live on YouTube)
6:00pm not 3:00pm on 2nd January 2022
3:00pm Services restart on 9th January 2022

Message from Tom
We had a Christmas quiz to finish off our year as the Zoom life group on Wednesday. The first round was guessing backwards Christmas music, and ever since then I’ve had the ear worm of Happy Xmas War is Over, particularly the first line “So this is Christmas, And what have you done, Another year over, And a new one just begun” stuck in my head.
Firstly, apologies if that now means such an awful song will be stuck in your head all day, but over Christmas it’s either that, Slade or Wizard. None of those are great options.

So it soon is Christmas, and what have we done? It’s been both a difficult and a blessed time to enter the life of a church. In some ways the regular foundations were missing as we tried to navigate back from Covid and thus it was difficult to gauge the nature of the church to its fullest extent. With many still being away and with so many (praise the Lord) new faces I am sure that OBC as I know it is probably not the OBC that everyone else knows. However, positively, the fact we were all, in a way, starting church again, means that we’ve all been entering into worship in the role of “guest”. When we are guests, we are at our most hospitable, kind and generous. This means we have approached each-other with tenderness and care in ways that are sometimes absent in everyday church life. What a wonderful time that has made it. From September until now I felt called to do three things at OBC; to preach the Word, love the people and do no harm. In way of a year review, let’s expand those things.

Preach the Word; James, what a book! I felt very strongly this was what God was calling us into and as always, He knew what He was doing. It has been so encouraging to hear stories of how this book has spoken, in so many different ways, to people both new to faith and equally those who are experienced Christians. We very deliberately stayed away from all cultural themes allowing God’s Word, and that alone, to guide our time together. But in another show of his sovereign power, we covered faith and works on CAP Sunday, and talked about suffering over Remembrance. If ever we doubt that God is truly in control, these little glimpses help us remember that fact. I believe in going through the Bible verse by verse, book by book, allowing God to speak to us as He wants, rather than giving God the topic and asking Him to fill it, so there won’t be any changes to that format in the future, but I hope everyone is comfortable with being so Bible focused; it is, after all, our daily bread.

Love the people; this is quite in depth as love is not an easy concept. I was hugely aware coming into the church that some people were worried about us losing our pastoral love for each other if we started to move our focus onto growth in the community- the two are not mutually exclusive- when growth is done correctly, it nurtures strong relationships and strengthens individual love and connection. As the church grows however, there has to be structural change to make that love sustainable throughout the growth; think of a vine, or a fruit plant- those with tomatoes for example will know that as the plant grows it is essential there is a suitable trellis in place to bear its weight. If not, the fruit will wither and then cease to grow again. There are times when we, as church members, need to see the pastor and that is all too reasonable and proper. Hopefully, I have seen anybody who has found themselves wanting time together, whether it be due to illness or difficulties that have arose, but if the pastor is trying to do all of the pastoral love within a church, its growth will stall and decrease as, for all the good intentions, the correct love trellis is not being built. I feel like I have banged this drum more than often… life groups. They are our primary source of support, pastoral care and love. We also have a great team led by Peter and Kate who are still very much at the heart of our pastoral care system, so please do reach out to them for any help and support you need. People can often get lost in the gaps as churches grow and its focus becomes more outward. As such the small groups leaders gather with me every month where we hold each other accountable for every member’s wellbeing, pray for every member and discuss the health of the groups and where needs are arising. This is why it is so essential that those connected to the church become members; by being a member you can hold me accountable for your pastoral care, and I can oversee your discipleship. It is a mutual covenant between minister and member and a crucial part of how we “do” church together. The final, and most important part of loving people, for me, was getting to know as many people as I could. I’m sorry for those I haven’t yet connected with, I’ve tried really hard to spend quality time with everybody and learn as much about everyone as I can, but there are still a few names I can’t yet match to faces, my utmost apologies to those who I haven’t connected with yet in a meaningful way. Please do reach out to me if that is you, and please do forgive me.

Finally, do no harm. When new ministers enter a church, they see a million things they aren’t happy with and would like to change. Sometimes they’re needed (often referred to as killing the sacred cow), but sometimes it’s personal taste and preference. I am naturally inclined to change, I see it as healthy, natural, needed and exciting. I’m also very aware of this and that means I am mindful of those who are less inclined, and sometimes fearful of change. I hope that nobody has seen too drastic a change in the past months, we’ve tweaked some things and moved the wheel slightly, but our course has not radically altered. I like to think that we’re travelling with the same map, but it’s just had a location and accuracy update as along the journey some reasons for setting off have been forgotten. But there were, of course, some things that had to change. We needed to introduce a second service but one that was different to the previous model which had become problematic due to the pressures it was placing on those serving. We had to think of ways to welcome and love those new faces coming into church that showed them we were happy they were joining us, and we had to come into line with government regulations that had slipped, and some Baptist principles that had slipped too. As I haven’t had any complaint letters, emails or calls then I’m assuming that these necessary changes were handled with the delicacy and biblical base that was intended to make them last. Or everybody here has amounts of grace that abound far more than other churches. Hopefully a little of both.
And so there we are. That was August until December for me, and in turn for all of us, at OBC. There is a really exciting and clear vision emerging for us as church over the next few years and I look increasingly forward to journeying there together. I foresee some bumps, and I foresee some beauty, but I hope that we can stay journeying together because no matter what we go through, God is and will always remain sovereign and calls us to stay united together. On the 2nd January’s services I’ll be sharing about where we will be heading through the next year and what our focus will expand to. So please do enjoy your Christmas break and if you can’t make the 2nd (either service) in person, catch up with it online.
Until then, may Emmanuel, God with us, be true for you this year. Have a very merry Christmas and an exciting new year. Every blessing of God to this wonderful, kind, loving and caring family that I am so happy to be a part of. I very much can say I love Oakham Baptist Church.
Blessings, Tom
Notice Board
You can now access the Sunday Services on the website, Youtube and Facebook. You can use the links below to go to your preferred platform.
Dates for your diary:
December 12th10:30am Carol Service
December 12th 6:00pm Carols by Candlelight
December 19th 10:30am Nativity
December 25th 10:30am Christmas Service
December 25th 12:00pm Christmas Dinner

January 16th Bring and share lunch after the service
January 17th Church Members Meeting
You are strongly encouraged to obtain a negative LFT test before attending an in person service. Nasal tests are available from the church building.
We want to thank  those who have been busy painting the church hallway, It has made a huge difference. We really appreciate all the time and effort you have put in.
A huge "thank you" to everyone who supported the OCC Shoebox appeal, especially at short notice.  Thanks especially to Rhoda for all her support and practical help.  Also to Tom and the deacons for agreeing to support this, and everyone who came along to help.
I had secretly asked God for 200 shoeboxes, and after a VERY quiet and disappointing start to the week, as I write this on 26th November we have hit 203 boxes!!  Praise God for His faithfulness.
We had lots of comments from visitors asking us to do it again next year (to be discussed...!) and the engagement with both schools and the community was good and has potential to be much greater.
I enjoyed an evening shift at the OCC Warehouse on Monday evening, helping to sort through shoeboxes and ensure every child receives the shoebox that the giver intended, but occasionally topped up with goodies if the contents were a little 'light'.  There is a real passion there, that it's not a production line, but that every single box needs to be special for the child that receives it.
Do consider volunteering, they'll be there sorting for a good couple of weeks yet.
It is likely our shoeboxes are headed for Liberia; the first 3 lorry loads out of St Neots are going directly to Liberia and I'm pretty sure ours will be on there.

Thanks again, and every blessing, Suzanne x
On Monday, we installed the community prayer tree at Costa.  It looks wonderful and very Christmassy.  It would be fantastic if as a church we could have a continued presence in Costa over the next couple of weeks so we can pray the prayers and thanks left on the tree by the community.  Please do pop along and see the tree, have a coffee, leave a prayer or pray over the tree. 

The Prayer Team 
Help needed (Sunday Tea & Coffee)
We need volunters to help with tea and coffee on Sunday mornings. It involves arriving at 9.30am to prepare, serving and then clearing away afterwards.

Support will be given so that people feel confident in using the coffee machines and any other equipment. Contact Joy Steele for more information.

Reaching out in friendship to women in the church and local community

Hi Ladies
Due to everyone being so busy in the run up to Christmas, we have decided to postpone getting together until the new year.  We have a few ideas simmering away, so please keep an eye out for these being advertised in January.
Saffires need your help
The Saffires Project is a joint church project in Leicester founded in 2015 working to share Jesus and His hope with women in the sex trade in Leicester.
Their vision is that all women in the sex industry in Leicester would find freedom from a life of exploitation and ultimately find freedom in Jesus, becoming part of our church communities and living according to the value that God places on them. The charity aims to provide pastoral care, practical support, positive life skills and access to relevant services for each precious lady. 
Saffires has just moved into its own office space in Central Baptist church, where there is also room to meet women 1:1. This is a great step forward. In just the last year over 100 women working in different parts of the sex industry in our city have been engaged with, and Claire and Mary have joined as part time staff to head up the outreach teams of dedicated volunteers. We are getting more and more significant opportunities to share with these women and pray with them.
All this progress is accompanied by an increased requirement for Saffires to strengthen financially. This is an urgent need at this point. 
None of the above is possible without the support of local churches and individuals and I would be so grateful if you would consider partnering with us by supporting the charity, either with a one-off gift or by regularly giving into the work.
This giving can be done by:

1. Making a donation or setting up a regular small gift  via Stewardship - follow this link

2. Direct Bank transfer: We have an account with CAF Bank

Account Name: The Saffires Project

Account Number: 00034317

Sort Code: 40-52-40

3. Sending a cheque made payable to The Saffires Project and posted to: Saffires c/o: Knighton Free Church, Brinsmead Road, Knighton, LE2 3WB

For more information about Saffires, go to www.saffires.org.uk
Are you a registered first aider outside of the church? If you're, would you be willing to be added to the list of first aiders for the church?

If you answered yes to both questions. Then please contact Ebe by replying to this email or call the church office 01572 724990.

Stamps for Leprosy Mission

A message from Derek Green.

The world-wide Covid epidemic has resulted in a number of effects on our lives, not least how it has affected the finances of our charities.

For over thirty years OBC has supported the Leprosy Mission by donating supplies of used postage stamps, UK and foreign, together with any unused or forgotten collections which may be lurking in ones attic! The Mission then sells them on to a dealer in return for several thousands of pounds annually, and all at
no cost to the donor!

So how about it? Please remove any stamps from your incoming mail this Christmas, leaving a realistic surrounding margin. Then early in the New Year, please either let me have them directly, or pass them along to me via Tom, Ebe or Joy. Of course this request does not just cover the Christmas period, so please keep it going.

It is only right that I mention one final thing. If any "special" stamps are included, I would add them to my personal stamp collection which has been growing for over eighty years, and which has been willed to benefit the OBC Buildings Fund.

Tuesday Morning Prayer
Tuesday morning prayer will be in the Church building starting at 7.30am.
Take the time each Tuesday morning to renew, restore and refresh.
All are welcome!
Sunday morning prayer @ OBC

Prayer before the Sunday Service.
This is a prayer meeting for the whole church lifting up all that the Church is doing to see God's kingdom come including what is taking place in the Service that day. 
Church is not just a set of unconnected individuals but a body of believers who want to build God's kingdom together. That means we need to pray together!
So if you are able, please make every effort to come.
We will be praying from 9.30am to 10am in the back room.
See you there!

Prayer meetings from 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm
on Zoom on Sunday evenings

Note the new Zoom details:

Meeting ID: 841 9449 3795
Passcode: 2299

or CLICK HERE to join

Prayer @ OBC

Confidential Prayer Line
If you would like confidential prayer for God's healing, peace, protection or any other matter at all, then please contact us using the following information and we will be delighted to talk and pray with you over the phone. 
Simply email ministryteam@oakhambaptist.org.uk giving your name and phone number and we will call you back.
Let us always remember, God has His strong hold upon us all. Psalm 91:14-16
With our love & prayers,
Peter & Kate

Please contact one of the following people to share emergency prayer request:
John Donald john.donald3@btopenworld.com 07596 118036

Ebe admin@oakhambaptist.org.uk
If you would like to be added to the list to receive prayer chain emails. Please send an email to admin@oakhambaptist.org.uk
Next Newsletter Edition Deadline
The next Newsletter will be sent out on Friday, 7th January 2022. All articles and updates to be included in that edition of the Newsletter should be received by Monday, 3rd January 2022. This Newsletter edition will cover 9th to January 2021. Please send your articles by emailing newsletter@oakhambaptist.org.uk or contact Ebe on 01572 724990.
Contact information
Ebe (Administrator): admin@oakhambaptist.org.uk
Church office: 01572 724990
Newsletter: newsletter@oakhambaptist.org.uk

Tom Bowring: tom@oakhambaptist.org.uk


Secretary: secretary@oakhambaptist.org.uk
Treasurer: treasurer@oakhambaptist.org.uk

Children and Youth Worker
Rhoda Gibson: rhoda@oakhambaptist.org.uk
Staying in touch

If you're a member of Oakham Baptist Church, you'll have received login information for MyChurchSuite, the online tool that you can use to keep track of events, your team rotas and much more.

If you would like to get a login or have forgotten your password, please contact Ebe
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