April 20th, 2016

Stow-on-the-Wold Baptist Church, Gloucestershire (Cotswolds)

By: Chuck McComb

Jim Booth wrapped up his six-month assignment as volunteer American interim pastor of Stow-on-the-Wold Baptist Church in early March 2016. He returned to his home in Galveston, Texas where he served as pastor of Island Baptist church on Galveston Island for 32 years. He has also resumed worship and service at Sagemont Church where he moved his membership upon retirement in November 2014.

Jim Booth

Jim thoroughly enjoyed his ministry at Stow and feels well loved and appreciated by those fellow believers in Jesus Christ! He emphasized Bible preaching and teaching at Stow and says that both have been very well received. That is such a blessing to Jim.

Ray Dupere (wife Avril), recently retired Pastor, Union Church, Rockville, Connecticut, will go to Stow in late May 2016 to continue AIPM’s ministry there. Avril will join Ray about mid June. More about the Dupere’s later.

Stow Baptist is a small congregation, but the number of Sunday worshippers is increasing steadily. Stow’s Church Secretary, Mrs. Margaret Baker (front row on left in photo), feels that additional growth is on the horizon. Attendance at the mid-week evening Bible study is more than half of the Sunday morning worship attendance. This meeting is in a church member’s home. We know that God is blessing this keen interest in His Word!

Every six-weeks Stow has a messy church meeting that is very well attended by children and parents from the town. They also operate a “Moms and Tots” ministry as a way to reach out to younger families.

Interestingly, Stow-on-the-Wold is old English for “Place of worship on a hill.” Stow is about 90 miles west-northwest of London. The town has a population of around two thousand people. Stow-on-the-Wold was mentioned in the Doomsday Book (by King William the Conqueror in 1086). And, Stow-on-the-Wold has a real historical feel to its picturesque landscape. Stow’s Baptist Church was established just after the English Civil War in 1660, but its roots are deeper in history, making the church one of the oldest Baptist Churches in the United Kingdom.

Stow is blessed with a very loyal congregation, the bulk of which, have served the church for over twenty years. The church is a very warm and welcoming community of believers, and its times together have a very relaxed and family feel, mixed with a certain British humor, that makes the atmosphere unique as well as very loving.

Stow Baptist sold their manse (parsonage) many years ago. When they began with American interim pastors in September 2015, they leased a flat only a few yards from the church building. The flat is well furnished and has 2 bedrooms that allow American interim pastors to have family and friends from the USA visit. That is one of the many perks of this voluntary ministry!

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