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Saturday, 13 February 2016

Baptist Church 200th Anniversary

Milford on Sea Baptist Church is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year.

The church building is one of the oldest Baptist churches in the New Forest region. It was founded in 1816 by Mr Evans, who in a period of five years saw over one hundred people join the congregation. He also oversaw the building of the church in Barnes Lane. Under the subsequent leadership of Rev Turquand, the original manse was added, and the Jireh chapel in Tiptoe (now Wellspring Church) was founded.

In 1964, by developing land surrounding the Church, the present manse and church hall were built, along with additional car parking. Later in the 1990's the organ was up-dated, and a new floor and baptistry installed.

As we moved into a new millennium, multi-media and a new PA system were installed. In September 2010 a tea point area was added to the rear of the Church, enabling a time for refreshments and fellowship to take place at the end of the services. The current minister, Rev David Hellsten was inducted at Easter 2011.

David is originally from Sweden and today he leads a church that is known for being a friendly and welcoming for all ages. He can also be found sharing his thoughts on Twitter!

Sunday services have an average attendance of 45-50 people, with most ages represented, they are quite informal, and David energetically mixes different traditions, old, new and in-between. Occasionally a 'Café Church' is held instead of the regular evening service.

This month 80 people attended a loud and lively youth service, of whom 50-60 were teens. I hear that they like their music and singing down at the Baptist Church!

The Baptist Church is a child-friendly church, and children can either stay for the whole service, or leave before the sermon for Sunday school. There are toys at the back for those that are too little to enjoy Sunday school.

Tea and coffee is served after the morning service and everybody is made to feel welcome, both residents of the area and holiday-makers, whether believers, seekers or sceptics.

To celebrate their 200th anniversary the church are putting on a number of special events this year, in addition to the regular quizzes and worship services. The first such event is a concert with Colin and Pippa Judson at the end of February. After that there is a Café Church in February, a Missions Day (5th March) and a concert with a young singer-songwriter whose grandparents are members of the church (26th March), a Flower festival in May and an Anniversary Concert with Boscombe Salvation Army on the 2nd July.

If you are interested in the history of the church, a closer look will take place at the Anniversary Café Church on 26th June. The official 200th Anniversary celebration will take place on Sunday 3rd July. 


Everyone is invited to attend these any of these events, and will receive a warm welcome.


All of these events, together with everything else happening across the village, can be found at www.milfordonseacalendar.org.

To find out more about Milford Baptist Church please visit:
www.milfordonseabaptist.org.uk - or contact Rev David Hellsten on 01590 645469 - pastor@milfordonseabaptist.org.uk.

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