I can’t believe another year has flown by so fast! And what a year it has been. For me personally one of the most significant features was turning 60, which I want to thank you as a church, for making so special and memorable. Outsiders who were invited to my surprise party commented on the love, unity and happiness of the Germiston Baptist Church. Thank you for your most generous gift and for all of the hard work that went into setting everything up. You are all super stars and I thank my God for you all.
Many significant things have happened this year as will be seen in the other reports, and as I sit and try to think back over the year I realize how encouraging it has been. The Lord has truly been good and blessed us this year. Growth has taken place in the Ladies Bible study, the Sunday school and the children’s talk and I let the leaders of those ministries report on them. I want to mention the growth in the prayer meetings. We have seen a slight improvement in the regular attendance on Sunday evenings, but Thursday evenings have been most encouraging with extra chairs having to be brought in from time to time.
What has been most encouraging is to see the way the Lord has answered our prayers. Around the middle of the year some of us started praying that the Lord would increase our membership to 60 by the end of the year. That got off to a discouraging start as we removed George and Lily, who have moved to Valley Community Church. However, the Lord had added the following new members during the year: Connie Georgiou, Basil Jones, Lillian Ndlovu and Samantha Molope. Today we have welcomed in six new members, namely Bernard Garaba, Bertha Chikowore, Lydia Campbell, Sheila Salimu, Channah Mayer and Shara Waite. Taking us to 56. By God’s grace, we should be welcoming in 5 more members before the end of the year. I cannot remember when, if ever, we have welcomed 15 new members to the church in one year! Praise be to God, He is doing things at Germiston. Sadly, for us but joyfully for them, we also lost Herb Fellows-Smith and Heather Lawton to higher service this year. They are sorely missed but we thank God for every remembrance of them.
The preaching ministry this year has seen us working through the Minor Prophets and Lamentations in the evenings and some of the shorter books such as 1, 2, and 3 John, Philemon and Jude in the mornings and now tackling the book of Revelation. As a church we have been involved in some special activities such as the special “youth” events which young and old alike have thoroughly enjoyed. Our contact and fellowship with other churches has increased and has been a blessing and beneficial. The combined camp from 28th – 30th March with Glenvista and Wychwood was a great success despite some “accommodation challenges”. We are planning another camp next year, this time at the Baptist Conference Centre which does have better accommodation, I promise! We have also enjoyed our combined evening services with Wychwood, Glenvista and Grace Community Church Primrose. The last one for this year will be held at Wychwood on Sunday 7th December. We also hosted the combined Ascension Day service and were highly commended for the quality of the worship. In February we hosted a Pastor’s Fraternal with Brian Edwards from the U.K. and Germiston is getting a reputation for hosting such events which have been a blessing to many pastors from around Gauteng. 2014 has once again been a good year for me, serving with a great board of deacons who have served the church selflessly, devotedly and in a spirit of unity. I do not take this for granted. I have seen so many churches where the deacon meetings are more like demons meetings. Thank and praise the Lord for our good men. I want to end by giving thanks to the Lord for the support I have had from Sue over the years of ministry at Germiston, and that has been particularly significant this year.
We started the year off with 50 members but after a busy year, as at our AGM we now stand at 56 members. Herb and Heather were called home on the 31st of January and 18th of March respectively. Connie and Samantha came into membership on the 2nd of March and Lillian shortly after that on the 16th of March. George and Lily were removed from the membership list at our QGM in August when they applied for membership at Valley Community Church which is closer to their home. Basil Jones came into membership on the 14th of September. A baptismal service was held on Sunday the 16th of November, where Channah, Sheila, Shara, Lydia and Emmanuel were all baptized. Bernard, Bertha, Lydia, Sheila, Channah and Shara have come into membership this morning, November 23rd, 2014. We continue to praise the Lord as He builds His universal church with members of the Germiston Baptist Church.
We gladly welcomed Lydia Campbell into the team this year. Our team now consists of Vivienne Almond, Mami Mazimuka, Lillian Ndlovu, Cindy Taylor, Daniel Magagula and Martin Taylor. We now have enough women in this ministry but still have a vacancy for one man.
Sales of Bibles has reached a total of 8621 by the end of October, a total of 173 Bible sold this year. This is much lower than in previous years as in 2012 we saw a total of 442 Bible sold, but this is a national trend, with Christian book shops being most affected. At least the new selling location is much quieter and is no longer on ground owned by Golden Walk and there is safe parking nearby.
A special thank you needs to be given to our Pastor for giving the worship leaders a better structure for leading. We are now making use of the projector for each service so that it is easier for people to follow. The notices are now also done before the worship begins so that they do not detract from the worship. The decision was also taken to stop using the Redemption Hymnals as the content is not always theologically sound. We pray that God is pleased with our worship as we continue to look at ways to improve and glorify God more in our corporate worship.
Our teachers for 2014 were
- Val Steyn
- Noreen Waite
- Shirley Gevers
- Sue Sammons
- Steven Gevers
- Graham Davis
We have had a good year. Attendance has been more regular than we have seen before and the children are growing. My own children are showing enthusiasm,remembering and retelling the stories they are taught thanks to the huge effort which Val and Noreen put into their class. The same applies across the board, parents have commented on the visible effects that children from our junior primary class are showing and the growth they have seen thanks to Sue and Shirley’s faithful service.
We continue to use and benefit from the Children Desiring God curriculum which has now been our curriculum for a few years now.
Please pray for numerical growth as we work toward building a Sunday School and Youth at Germiston which offers our children the ability to build friendships with other children in a God centered environment.
ADULT BIBLE CLASS
The Adult Bible Class, which runs at the same time as our Sunday school has developed a good momentum over the past year with an increased core who attend on a regular basis. We have worked through the New City Catechism and are currently busy with the 1689 Confession. Over the past 5 weeks we have dealt with the subject of Baptism and Church membership as I have been preparing the candidates for baptism. Next year we will work through the SOLA 5 core values and I hope to, by God’s provision, enlist some others to teach on these. Potentially, we have at least two other very competent teachers joining us next year. So I would encourage more folk to join us for what promises to be a great time.
We spent the first half of the year wrapping up the children catechism and are about a thrid of the way through Pilgrims Progress. Children’s talk has been both encouraging and discouraging at the same time. It is encouraging to see the number of children some Sundays who attend and it is discouraging that not all of those children attend Sunday school.
In order to assist with transport arrangements, the Junior youth group meetings coincide with the Senior youth meetings, namely from 2:00pm to 4:00pm on Saturdays during school terms. The meetings have generally consisted of a devotion, prayer, snacks and games at the church. We need to, however, consider having some of our youth meetings at venues other than the church as is currently being done by the Senior youth. These alternative venues may require extended time frames and transportation dealt with accordingly. Nico and Nitha alternate with Martie and myself for the planning and leading of the youth meetings. Joelle, Mariske, Ashton, Emmanuel, Ofenste and Loago have been attending the 2014 meetings. Jared moved to the Senior youth in 2014 and Ashton will be do the same in 2015. Please remember “Germiston Next Generation” in your prayers.
This year has been an encouraging one in having seen two members of our group ask for baptism and to become members. We moved away from the voice training this year as I felt that the youth needed a break and I wanted to give them more opportunities to develop their relationships with each other. Numerical growth is still a challenge but we are praying that the Lord will add to our group. Lord willing we will do more outreach next year, focusing especially on getting younger people to attend the Senior youth and Sunday services. Thank you to Shirley for all her hard work in organizing the events and making sure everyone knows what’s on the schedule.
TEENAGE GIRLS’ BOOK CLUB
The Teenage Girls’ book club has continued to take place one Saturday every month and has been attended by Shara, Channah and Mpumi. We are reading through Edward T. Welch’s When People are Big and God is Small, which has been beneficial for all of us. The girls have found the book to be a means of growth. They have indicated that it is a helpful guide in gaining perspective, and in overcoming the fear of man and peer pressure. Next year, I will look at the possibility of varying the books that we read. Each meeting has ended with a wonderful time of tea and fellowship. Thank you to the girls (and the moms!) for providing eats.
Our group is studying “The Attributes of God” by Arthur Pink. This is the second time we our going through the book, with good reason. The better we know who our Father in heaven is, the better we can pray to Him, and because His attributes, the characteristics of His nature, are so unlike ours, it is helpful to be reminded of what He is really like.
Our year began with a resumption in our study in discovering the heart of the Reformation. Michael Reeves’ book “The Unquenchable Flame” was used as the basis for our study. We were stirred up as we read, how God by His heart transforming power and Spirit filled awakening, at His appointed time in History, used men and women to restore the Church and transform a darkened society through the proclaimed Word of God. Additional biographical studies on the Reformers, their major doctrinal emphases, and a brief history and importance of the development of Calvinism helped us appreciate our wonderful legacy. Linked to this was a look at the lives of woman who contributed to the Reformation cause in England and the positive influence the Puritans had on North American society, in Christianity, culture, politics and education. Whilst awaiting our new book to arrive, we watched a DVD on the “Strange Fire” conference, dealing with the errors of the Charismatic movement. Stephen Sizer and Allan Morrison expanded our minds eschatologically, and Don Carson warmed our hearts, as we considered our Covenant writing and keeping God. Two short biographical sketches followed on lesser known believers namely, James Lackington, the world’s first major book dealer; and Fanny Burnett, Charles Dickens’ sister. In August, we began our new book study on Paul Tripp’s book, “A Quest for More”. With chapter 10 having being completed ad eight more chapters to follow next year, we have found, God has used this book to be challenging, practical and heart transforming, giving us a desire to be transforming by God’s grace to love, live and work for the Big Kingdom of God, restoring our creation dignity. A summary of the core elements of “A Quest for More” concluded our final Bible study on Wednesday 12 November, where Laura gave us a demonstration on how to make gift packets, this was followed by a light lunch. I thank all 13 ladies, who faithfully attend, contribute with wisdom, insight and with a humble desire to grow in service, grace, love and knowledge of our Saviour Jesus Christ. We thank God for the fellowship and unity of the Spirit of Christ that exists amongst us; the equipping through the Bible study, of the ladies for their own ministries in the church; and the acts of mercy ministries amongst the ladies, that have resulted from this Bible study.
“Study to show thyself approved unto God a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth” – 2 Timothy 2:15. This verse is the inspiration for our study group to tackle difficult concepts in the Bible and to search Scripture to guide us to understand the Word of God. With the help and guidance of the Matthew Henry Commentary, Adam Clarke, John Gill Exposition and Morris Commentary on Revelation, we managed to work through the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation over the past 20 weeks. It was our intention to end our study at the end of chapter 3. But the knowledge gained during our study of these first three chapters only inspired us to do the rest of the book of Revelation in the New Year. Over the next three weeks until we recess for the school holidays, we will be looking at the request of the disciples of Jesus to teach them how to pray and also look at some of the prayers of David and Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17.
There are currently 8 members that attend our Bible study group and would invite other members of the church who do not have a regular venue for Bible study to join us at Walter’s home. We meet at 19h30 either on a Wednesday or Thursday evening, depending on the availability of all 8 of us. We are flexible with our days of study to accommodate as many of our group to attend these studies. Yours in Christ.
It is again a joy and privilege to report that our team from the Germiston Baptist Church during the year have been faithfully conduction regular church services at the Elandsvallei Red Cross Home for the Aged in Primrose. This year has been characterized by a more settled ministry in that it is part of the overall programme provided for the residence of the home. Every first and third Sunday afternoon of the month throughout the year a time of prayer, hymn singing, Scripture reading and a short message takes place in the residents’ lounge. It is encouraging that a number of the residence themselves look forward to our visits. The support of the staff on duty in preparing for the meeting has been seen and welcomed. The faithful committed members of the team – Clyde and Nellie Waite, Mami Mazimuka and Michael Aldridge – from the church visiting the Home did not change the past year. This may change and additional church members would then be required to assist in this work in the future. It is appreciated that Pastor, Johan and Steven have stood in for members who have unavailable on particular Sunday afternoons during the year. It is also appreciated that the work at Elandsvallei on a Sunday afternoon has been in the prayers of the members of the church during the year. We value the prayer support and encouragement for the team as we seek to be ambassadors for Christ in the Home to the glory of God.
Nellie and Clyde Waite, Mami Mazimuka and Michael Aldridge
Acts 3:20-21: “That times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven and earth may receive until the time for restoring all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago.” Based upon the preceding verse, “the restoration of all things”, through the redemptive work of Christ has been my theme for the entire ladies ministry. This year, God has opened up opportunities of fellowship around the Word of God, with ladies from other Baptist churches. Some of these opportunities have resulted, because of our joint camp, held with the ladies from Constantia Park Baptist Church last year, and our joint church camp that we held with Glenvista and Wychwood Baptist churches. Opportunities for counselling have arisen for me, amongst ladies from these churches. Together, with observation by one lady as to how a ladies Bible study is run. For the encouragement of our church, the comment was made by this particular young lady, who was amazed by the diversity in cultures, ages and economic backgrounds, all united in Christ, at the Bible study. With this in view, she witnessed God’s spiritual work, and loved how Scripture wad delighted in. On the 8th of March, I spoke at Wychwood Baptist, on “The Sovereignty of God, our bedrock of faith in times of loss.” On the 10th of May, we as a group of ladies went to Bethany Baptist Church in Lyttleton, Pretoria, where I addressed the same topic on loss. It was well attended by our ladies, and the ministry of Bethany Baptist was a great encouragement to us. It was good to meet up with ladies from Constantia Park Baptist at this meeting. Once again, on July 19th, I spoke on the topic of loss at Glenvista Baptist Church. On the 9th of August, Constantia Park Baptist invited us to share around God’s Word, followed by delicious servings of soup and bread. Here, the topic I addressed was our dignity in Christ. It was entitled, “All the World’s a Stage.” A full complement of Germiston ladies supported this meeting with enthusiasm and joy, proving an encouragement to all. Wychwood Baptist hosted a High Tea on October 18th, which again was well attended. Kathy Laughton spoke on trusting God in difficult times. On 23 October, ladies from the Bible study, attended a presentation on the “Gateway to Reading Project” by the Neema Foundation, a ministry developed by Kloof Baptist Church. We were impressed by the presentation, and saw great opportunities for ministry to underprivileged children, offering them hope, through education, teaching them to read properly, where they may otherwise never achieve this end, because of our failing education system. We saw the opportunities to present Jesus Christ to these children, through the Gospel of grace using the reading programme as a mercy ministry. Consequently, on 7-8 November, Shirley and I, together with Leanne Johnson from Muldersdrift Union Church attended a training course by the Neema Foundation at Kloof Baptist Church. It proved to be an exceptional course. There will be further training courses in Gauteng at the beginning of March. Laura, Noreen and Helen, have indicated their desire to attend this course. The course certificate is only issued to teachers, adult/university educators and speech/occupational therapists. But, for the teaching to operate, helpers are needed, and are essential for the success of the teaching programme. It is helpful for the volunteers to attend the course, and understand the teaching process. Anyone else interested in getting involved, please speak to me. We are waiting upon God’s guiding hand in opening doors of ministry in this area. Finally, on 19 November, I will be presenting the talk on loss to the ladies of Midrand Chapel. The prayers of the saints for this ministry, particularly at the Thursday prayer meeting, have been deeply appreciated.
Legacy Leavers – “Even without the experiential wisdom of a Christian history or practice in our past birth families, we can claim a Christian heritage through Christ’s Redemption. Adoption in Christ is the process by which we claim our heritage and by which we can leave a legacy to the next generation.” Adapted, with apologies, from Rosalie Butterfield, from her book, “The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.” Borne out of the above desire to enable ladies to leave a Christian legacy to the next generation, with the prevailing vision of “the Restoration of all things” in mind, “Legacy Leavers” began in April. Our first meeting was at the church and thereafter it has been held in Helen Mayer’s home, one Saturday a month. The meeting begins, by watching one session of Tedd Tripp’s “Shepherding a Child’s Heart”. Here are taught how to raise a Godly next generation, in the fear of the Lord, working on the heart issues. Laura Aldridge had a vision, to teach a skill or craft to the ladies, which they can, in turn pass onto their children. Laura has kindly taught knitting, and at present Helen’s mom is teaching the ladies to crochet. Some remarkable works of skill have been produced. One example is Mami giving a beautiful crocheted hat to Bertha for her little girl at her stork party. At our next meeting on 15 November, Laura will demonstrate how to make beautiful gift packets and bows for decorative purposes. I wish to thank Helen and Channah for their kind and gracious hospitality, extended to both the moms and children and for Helen’s vision and determination that a meeting will be held monthly. And for bringing her mom on board, to teach skills to the ladies. It is very much appreciated. To Laura, I thank her for her vision, her kindness in supplying delicious eats, and her ministry of helps in so many ways to the ladies. She is invaluable in this area. I believe the ladies benefit, enjoy the fellowship as they discuss the content of the DVD together, whilst they crochet or knit, and a good time of Christian community is enjoyed by God’s grace.
This year has been a busy one of sorts with catering. The year started off with the church hosting a Pastor’s Fraternal with Brian Edwards from the U.K. as the speaker. This meeting was held on the 11th of February and there were about 36 pastors and/or wives presents. The day consisted of tea/coffee with biscuits, lunch and desert. A special thank you to Mami, Laura and Cherith who helped me out with serving and cleaning up afterwards. On the 24th of February the SOLA 5 Committee meeting was held at the church where a lunch of savoury mince, rice, rolls and salad was served followed by ice-cream and chocolate sauce. Thanks to Mike and Laura for assisting me here. The East Rand Pastor’s Fraternal met on the 9th of May, with a lunch of chicken noodle soup and breyani was served. Thanks to Sue and Nitha who stepped in and helped out. On the 24th of August a Worship leaders training course was held after the morning service followed by lunch. My thanks to Sue and Shirley for making soup; Martie, Laura, Val and Cindy for the puddings and Mami for bringing the juice. On Sunday the 28th of September the joint evening service was held at Germiston and thanks to all the ladies for providing eats for the tea we had afterwards. We also had a number of funerals for which to cater for during the year and to all the ladies who helped out with eats and setting up/cleaning up afterwards and big thank you from my side. Then I would just like to thank our Lord for granting us the privilege of being able to celebrate Peter’s 60th birthday. This was in the form of a “surprise tea” held on Saturday the 25th of October. Thank you to all the ladies who really out did themselves with the catering for this as we had about 85 people present – even though we Baptists enjoy eating, there was more than enough food – so thank you again. Then I would just like to thank Des, Shara and Ashton for all their hard work that day – I really appreciate it very much.
Sunday morning tea: This ministry is running well and I thank the ladies who faithfully serve the tea/coffee and provide the eats for their willingness to continue serving the body of Christ at Germiston in this way. And as I said last year, this may seem like a small ministry but it gives us an opportunity to fellowship with one another and even get to know visitors who are there for the first time.
Communion: This ministry involves preparing the table twice a month when the church family celebrates the Lord’s Supper and then cleaning the glasses afterwards. Should any other ladies wish to assist in this, please speak to me. Thank you to Sue, Martie, Nitha and Violet for your continued assistance with this.
Grocery cupboard: Thank you to everyone who continue to contribute, on a monthly basis, to the grocery cupboard. This is then used to make up food parcels to assist members of the church who are in need. This is one ministry in which the love of Christ can be seen and felt in a practical way and how we can show love one to another.
The year 2014 has been very challenging on the maintenance side of things, mainly because, apart from normal wear and tear of the church building and grounds, there were numerous break-ins which caused a strain in the pace for the upkeep with the repairs. We had one work party where we were able to fix the windows which were broken into. The baptismal cover/platform was also braised to support it further and a trial run was done to check-out our alertness in case of an urgent need for a baptism. Lights were replaced on the outside of the building. The wall from our neighbour was recently plastered but may still need a coat of paint. At the two places where the thieves were coming in, we added additional supporting steel. The geyser was repaired twice having to replace the control valve but fortunately the splitting of the safety valve and the overflow lines solved the reoccurring problem of a constant leak. I would have loved one or two more work parties to sort out the rest of the items on the snag list which is still outstanding i.e. the palisade fencing, broken window in the pinnacle and the toilet seat in the gents. A ramp was erected to enable easy access for wheelchairs at the back entrance. We will continue to keep the building safe for the Germiston Next Generation. To the glory of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We have a good supply of blankets and knitted items to hand out to babies in the hospital during the hospital visitation ministry. I will quote Vivienne, who ministers in the hospital ministry every Sunday, in the maternity ward. “We are very grateful to all the knitters! Their efforts are appreciated too by the recipients in the maternity ward. Amazing how we seem to have just what is needed with us. We do not just hand out blankets, etc. willy nilly, but pray first and give them the Gospel in case they may be tempted to think of our Lord Jesus Christ in a Father Christmas context.” Some of our little church children have also benefitted from knitted items from this Cradle Care ministry. We extend out grateful thanks to all the kind and willing knitters.
There is not a great deal to report on the Book Table this year. Having had an extremely well run, vibrant and busy Book Table in years gone by, this all changed at the beginning of this year with the closing down of Augustine Book Room and the home call of our beloved brother Herb. We are looking at getting this up and running again with Jabu Kumalo taking the lead role.
No significant changes have been experienced since last year. Dawn Meier and I are assisting those who would like to borrow the available books from the church’s library. There are still about twelve books outstanding from previous years which include books borrowed by people who do not attend Germiston anymore. We would like additional children’s books to be added to the library. Although there has been greater interest amongst our younger people, all members of Germiston Baptist should be encouraged to read more, as this can be helpful for their spiritual growth and may assist them in their understanding of the Bible.
It has been an interesting year in which we have attempted to accommodate and integrate the audio equipment we have with the changes to the front of the sanctuary. The ongoing experience gained has resulted in an improvement in the use of the equipment during services/meetings. With the purchase of additional microphones, we expect to make further improvements. Recordings of sermons are available although these are not a complete archive of all Sunday services. Audio CD’s of recordings of sermons are available on request.