Behind the scenes every Sabbath, an invisible team, currently led by Patrick Shepherd, runs the PA and Media at Willesden Church.
Willesden’s PA team were one of the first of the UK Adventist churches to start streaming and the department has grown and developed significantly over the years. What started off as a small piece of audio equipment in a cupboard, that simply supplied sound to the church, has become the fully-equipped, multimedia studio that is currently run by a passionate team of volunteers.
“Back when we started streaming, we could only reach ten people at a time,” said Darren Allen, who has been part of the PA department in one way or another for over twenty-years. “More recently, our challenge has been expanding the size and skills of the team.”
Over the past year, there has been an influx of young people interested in volunteering. This led to an immersive training day, run by Darren and Serene Allen, on Sunday, 19th February.
“We took the team through an entire demonstration of what it takes to run PA every Sabbath,” explained Serene Allen, who has served the department almost as long as her brother, Darren. “From unlocking the PA room door and turning on machines, to having audio, video and projection ready and set up before the first programme even begins.”
The ten young people participating were so engaged that they stayed long after the training had finished to ask in-depth questions of the trainers; even more exciting is that they all expressed how eager they were to put their training into practise straight away!
A unique outreach event on 14 February, 2023, brought scores of people from the community to the Willesden Seventh-day Adventist church. Under the caption Love In Action – Touching Lives, Changing Communities, as the world focused on Valentine’s Day, the church’s outreach was demonstrable of God’s love, reflected in practical acts of love and service to its community. Departmental church leaders and volunteers from the church’s Centre of Help and Hope and Community Kitchen served each attendee with professionalism, care and compassion.
Our Mt Sinai team are still in with a chance to go to Athens, Greece, for the Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE) Finals, in April!
Having diligently studied the book of John, and its SDA Commentary companion, the team took a first place spot at the second round of the PBE competition, on Saturday, 11th February. They are now focused on the next stage; competing at the Union Level testing on 11th March.
Led by their captain, Jaedon Rose-Campbell, the team also consists of: Amanda Kabambe; Aalia Prince; Lynette Muchikange; Jediah Dawson; Joel Anderson; Kiara Welch; and Kynsi Welch, as their courier.
Please keep them in your prayers as they continue to study!
Teens from Willesden Church kicked off their 2023 social calendar with a ‘Sip & Paint’ event, on Saturday, 4th February.
Pauline Hutchinson, along with the Teens department team, pulled this activity together specifically to get to know the young people and give them a creative, social time with each other.
“I suggested this activity as I took part in a similar type of event at work”, shared Pauline. “I discussed it with the team and they believed it would be a great idea for our first official meeting with the Teens – something completely different! It was a great way of fellowshipping with each other, because who doesn’t love eating, drinking and painting!”
The charity Son Of A King (SOAK), who support men’s mental health, donated the canvases and easels for the evening, helping to bring all the details together perfectly for the painting session.
The twelve teens that attended enjoyed the evening so much that the event has been established as a regular feature throughout the year.
‘Marvellous, infinite, matchless grace’, were the song lyrics that opened Willesden Church’s third baptism since lockdown lifted. The church came together, on Saturday, 21st May, to celebrate the new journey of baptismal candidate, Gloria Patricia Edwards, who inspired the creation of Willesden’s 24-Hour Prayer Line.
Gloria had joined a prayer call, led by Willesden’s Pastor Mario Phillip, that ended up running over by several hours because of her contribution. It was because of this that the church decided to extend their prayer ministry and establish a 24-hour prayer line for anyone that needs it.
Yvonne Cummins, a Willesden church member and the candidate’s younger sister, welcomed everyone to a “two-pronged ceremony”.
“This is both a funeral, from which the devil is put aside, and a marriage service, where the Spirit of the Lord stands in allegiance with those getting baptised,” explained Yvonne. “This is our very own jubilee celebration!”
Yvonne also shared her sister’s story, of how their family is from a Sunday church background and Gloria’s hope that other family members and friends will accept the seventh-day Sabbath as the will and gift of God.
First Elder Keith Allen led Gloria through her baptismal vows, after which the members unanimously accepted Gloria into the church’s fellowship. Pastor Mario Phillip shared an encouraging message, speaking of having to hide his own baptism from his mother as a young person.
“My mum said I couldn’t get baptised and so I put some clothes in a bag, left them with a neighbour and went to church,” he said. “When the preacher asked if my mother knew, I lied and said yes! That night she was so angry, but me getting baptised was the catalyst for other members of my family to get baptised. If I hadn’t made that decision, other people would have not been affected. I urge you, Gloria, to be a catalyst to others. He who began a good work in you will complete it to the very end.”
Gloria’s friends and family joined together, in person and from around the world via the live stream, to support and witness her baptism.
In his final words to Gloria, Pastor Phillip described how important baptisms are in the life of children of God.
“Noah preached for hundreds of years and only eight people came to God!” declared Pastor Phillip. “Today we are celebrating that the Kingdom of God has won again. He will enable you to lead the life that comes next; the same God that called you will sustain you. As tough as it gets serving Jesus, it is worse not serving Him.”