Unity and Mission on the Southwest Coastline
28 May 2012
I've just seen your 'Gather' video and it really resonated with me and our experience as churches working together here in Somerset so I thought I'd write to say thanks for what you're doing and to share a bit of our story...
When we arrived in Watchet I'd have to admit that although I had big dreams I didn't expect to experience what has since happened, especially as churches working together. For a small town (4500 people) we have a lot of churches with five different denominations represented. It concerned me how confusing it must be for the community to have 5 different groups of Christians speaking to them with separate voices. But God has been at work here (as it sounds like he has in many other parts of the country) and I arrived to find a group of ministers who were committed to working together for the Kingdom of God - flippin' brilliant! Over the last couple of years we have found that God has led us to pray together and proclaim his message of hope to our community with one voice. We now have a Prayer Tent which we take to the various community events that run through the year. Last year the organisers of our local music festival (which attracts around 10 000 from across the country) invited our Churches Together group to set up a Prayer Tent that would be open throughout the festival weekend - we ended up with a Prayer Space open for people to explore faith with lots of creative stimuli to encourage prayer. Throughout the course of the weekend we had leaders from all the denominations in the town leading our daily office at various points and many of us camped together, ate together...basically lived our lives together for the duration of the festival. Hundreds of people used the prayer tent, loads of amazing conversions were had with people beginning to explore Christian spirituality, one person came to faith for the first time...and as Christians from different church traditions we grew closer to God and to each other in the process!
This year we have more of the same planned and are also hoping to renovate and open a new facility we've just bought on the main street of the town which will be used as a community space and as a place of prayer - one room of the building will be a Prayer Room that will always be open to the whole community. We're also hoping we can continue to develop a corporate rhythm of life together as Christians in the town that interweaves prayer, mission and worship.
For photos of the Prayer Tent at Watchet Music Festival last summer go to our church Facebook page and some video of our Prayer Tent at local carnivals and our existing 24/7 Prayer room (which we have set up at intervals throughout the year) can be found at;
I hope our story adds to those that have encouraged you as you've spent time exploring the amazing things God has been doing across our nation. Thanks again for what your doing.
Rev Carl Smethurst,
Minister, Watchet Baptist Church