'We have come this far by faith' was the theme at Balham church, as the church celebrated 50 years since its formation with an exciting anniversary weekend from Friday 26 July to Sunday 28 July.
The Friday session of worship included congregational singing, interviews with some of the founders of the church and a message from the SEC President Pastor Emmanuel Osei, who challenged members to move forward in faith as they enter their next phase as a church.
One of the very touching highlights was the tribute to those members who had died during the last fifty years. As their names were listed on the screen, with the background music being, ‘We’ll Never Part Again’, there was a solemn reflective mood but people were encouraged by the hope of a reunion one day.
The Sabbath's sermon was preached by former minister, Pastor Errol Lawrence, who was present at Balham when the church started and now pastors in Canada. His message was a challenge to each one to make ourselves available to God.
Other features of Sabbath included a tribute to the senior members of the church, inviting them to the platform, whilst the congregation sang, ‘I’m climbing up the rough side of the mountain’.
Those present included the Deputy Mayor of Wandsworth Council, Sue McKinney, a few other Pastors and even members who had to be brought to the church in wheelchairs, such was their determination not to miss the celebrations.
The Sabbath afternoon programme included video tributes from several former Pastors, a musical and verbal tribute from recent minister Pastor Mbui, and musical items from groups from the past with special guests, the London Male Voice choir.
Another feature was the message from Pastor Anthony Fuller (the Youth director for the South England Conference and son of Balham), who invited us to provide the environment where the youth can develop and grow.
We ended the day with the ‘ceremony’ where an Olympic torch that was used by our current Youth leader in London 2012 Olympics, was passed from the first Balham youth leader to the current one.
The Sunday fun day was aimed at current and past members, including our community neighbours. Features included various stands, games, demonstrations such as music and vegan cooking and plenty for the children, including the ever-popular bouncy castle.
Fifty years is a long time, but at Balham we are committed to being of service to God and the community in the years to come.