Gosport church’s move will help ‘bless the socks off’ community

From left, singer Emma Jenkings with the Reverend Sean Blackman Picture:  Malcolm Wells (160103-3929)
From left, singer Emma Jenkings with the Reverend Sean Blackman Picture: Malcolm Wells (160103-3929)
Alan Jump and his 1931 Ford Model A at the first  Clocktower Classics motor show in 2015. Picture by Allan Hutchings

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A CHURCH leader has told how he hopes to ‘bless the socks off’ the community after he took the ambitious decision to move his congregation to a new home.

The members of Brockhurst Baptist Church have started a new chapter in their spiritual ‘adventure’ by moving from their church and into the Nimrod Community Centre in Nimrod Drive, Rowner, Gosport.

The congregation at Nimrod Community Centre

The congregation at Nimrod Community Centre

Reverend Sean Blackman came up with the concept and said it was part of a drive to connect with the Nimrod community as there’s only one traditional church in that area and Brockhurst has several.

The new church, called Freedom: A Church For Believers, Seekers and Doubters, held its first service on Sunday, with some 30 people attending.

‘We just want to bless the socks off the community,’ said Rev Blackman.

‘The church has moved out so the community can move in.’

We are moving away from the traditional view of church to something which is more relevant to today’s world.

Reverend Sean Blackman, Brockhurst Baptist Church

The old baptist church in Netherton Road will be used as a community hub for theatre groups and voluntary organisations.

Explaining the move, Rev Blackman said congregations could sometimes become overly attached to their churches and ‘forget their real purpose’ to serve the community.

‘For many years I wanted to see the building as something that was adopted by the community as a place that serves the community,’ he said.

‘The church can be precious about its buildings and I’ve been trying to do this for about 10 years, with little success.

‘The idea is to take the people outside of the building, so they are not so precious about it and that means the community can use it.’

He added: ‘We are moving away from the traditional view of church to something which is more relevant to today’s world.’

Rev Blackman hoped to deliver a ‘more modern church’, which will include bacon butties on Sunday, served with coffee and other snacks.

The idea has been welcomed by members of the congregation. Emma Jenkins, 28, joined the service with her husband Mike and their two children, Poppy and Lily.

She said: ‘This is like a new adventure. God told us to move to this area and I’m really happy we have done it.’

Sunday services are from 10.30am to 11.30am. Snacks are available at 10.15am.