South Bristol Church Organisation
10th May 2018
Sabbath 28 April was a day of great triumph and celebration for the members of South Bristol Seventh-day Adventist church. It was an historical event which marked the company being formalised as a church. Members from other churches also attended including those of North Bristol Seventh-day Adventist church who had closed their doors to join in on this special ceremony.
The programme commenced at 10:00 am with a soul-stirring song service led out by the vibrant ladies of South Bristol church. Passers-by could hear their melodious voices, a reflection of a normal Sabbath at our church. Judging from the congregation's countenance one could tell that this was indeed a glorious occasion. They were all very jubilant and very eager to commemorate the day's event. Our own minister Pastor Royston Smith and Anita Ho (Sabbath School Superintendent) conducted a very interactive lesson study. Both members and visitors were very eager to participate in the discussion, this gave a great start to the day.
At the end of Sabbath School Pastor Smith asked a thought-provoking question, "who amongst us can raise their hand, knowing that should Christ appear today they would be saved?" He further went on to emphasise the need of self-evaluation; truly recognising the stage we are at on our Christian journey.
A reflection of the group's history recounted by two of the core members Clover Samuel-Young and Elder Billy Odumuzor filled the air with nostalgia. The group was formed from the mother church of Bristol Central in 2004 by the then pastor of the Bristol district, Richard Daly. This was to satisfy the need of having an Adventist Church representation in one of the poorest areas in Bristol, Bedminster. Approximately eight families embarked on this journey, it was of uncertainty but was proved to be worth the while. The first location secured was that of the Salvation Army in Bedminster, where the group spent just over a year before moving on. They then settled for some time at the Southville Methodist Church and Faith Space but had to relocate due to being inconvenienced by other users of the facility. Throughout this time the church family was seeing growth in new members but was also experiencing a decline in numbers from the core group; some had moved back to Africa or had relocated to other cities in the UK. This could have put a damper on things, but the South Bristol family strongly believes in Matthew 18:20, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
The day's sermon was entitled 'Family Ties' and was presented by Pastor Doug McCormac, Executive Secretary of the South England Conference, the topic was most germane to the day's event. South Bristol is well renowned for being a family church. As indicated in the sermon, the family name projects a great background and significance. This overarching theme speaks volumes and relevance to the church family of South Bristol and connects well with the family found in Galatians 4. The speaker also focused on our legal perspective as a church, this he presented as one of the greatest struggles in Christianity. Members of the congregation were admonished to embrace God's everlasting promise of being heirs of God. We were assured that God promises to provide for all our needs. Altogether the essence of the message is that we are to remain faithful to God in order to be benefactors of His everlasting kingdom.
The 'Formalisation Ceremony' was also officiated by Pastor McCormac, commencing with the declaration of the core group as a church, this was then followed by the incorporation of additional members. The core group being: Stella and Nelson Khonje, Grace and Billy Odumuzor along with Clover and Elder Lloyd Young. They are the three remaining families of eight that started out with the mission. Our current membership stands at forty-two with the majority of members from the south of Bristol, where we have been temporarily occupying: Redcliffe Methodist Church, Prewett Street, Bristol, BS1 6PB for approximately eight years. South Bristol was then officially welcomed into the world family of Seventh-day Adventists.
After the morning service ended, we all had a sumptuous meal which allowed for a time of fellowship, meeting and greeting. The day's event climaxed with a very ecstatic evening of praise and thanksgiving. It was a glorious experience in which God revealed Himself to His people in a marvellous way. The South Bristol family would like to express our sincere gratitude to our current minister Pastor Royston Smith and his predecessors: Richard Daly, Valentine Roach, Jojo Bonnie and Anand Measapogu. Their leadership has had much impact and influence on the current status of the church today.
[Wijan Watson and Devina Blake-Sanchez Ponce]