Day 3 - Three Acts of Kindness

Grange Free Church and Rayleigh Vineyard

In 2022 Church Growth Trust (CGT) became the holding trustee for Grange Free Church, taking this on from the Fellowship Property Trust. Even at the time there was concern for the church as to whether it would continue, due to challenges with an aging congregation and fewer members. Closing a work is never an easy decision. But after exploring various options, including options for merging with another church and engaging with the church revitalisation project (supported by CGT), the decision was made for Grange Free Church to gift the property to CGT and subsequently close its doors. With Pastor John Pease now in his eighties and the congregation having no other leadership, it was the right decision.

Fortunately, Rayleigh Vineyard Church already had connections with Grange Free Church, using their spaces for meetings. It was a natural fit for Rayleigh Vineyard Church to take responsibility for the entire building (with a tenancy from CGT) and were excited to have a permanent base to run their operations.

Dave Smith, a leader at Rayleigh Vineyard Church expressed gratitude, “We are delighted to have the building and a permanent base. The arrangements between us and the old fellowship have been great with John Pease helping in so many practical ways. We have also seen a significant reduction in our costs as we are now using one building instead of leasing and hiring multiple premises. We are grateful to Church Growth Trust for helping us in this way and for their passion for Gospel work continuing from their buildings around the country.”

Hey Street Evangelical Church and One Church Grimsby

Another heartwarming story comes from Cleethorpes where One Church Grimsby, took on a building, gifted to CGT by Hey Street Evangelical Church after the assembly closed. Wendy and Tom Hawkins, alongside their team, then embarked on an extensive renovation journey. As Tom and Wendy explained, “We had been praying to God for a permanent base for our church for nearly fifteen years. God in his grace brought forward this building and we were thrilled and excited to have our prayers answered in being given the chance to take the tenancy of the property.”  

The renovation project was made possible by a generous grant from the members of Hey Street Evangelical Church, enabling One Church Grimsby to breathe new life into the premises, transforming the building into a striking, welcoming space. The fully accessible WC is now accessed from inside the building, the kitchen has been refurbished, the worship area has been given a new lease of life and the front of the building now looks much more attractive and welcoming.  

Vernham Dean Gospel Hall and Clarence Road Evangelical Church 

After the sale of Vernham Dean Gospel Hall near Andover the trustees sought guidance from CGT regarding their trusteeship matters, particularly to know what they could use the sale proceed for and asking for recommendations for specific projects and churches. 
In response, CGT proposed Clarence Road Evangelical Church, East Cowes as a suitable recipient. A grant of £20,000 made by Vernham Dean Gospel Hall will enable Clarence Road to undertake substantial enhancements in disability access and layout improvements. CGT’s Chief Executive Giles Arnold says, “We are so thankful for the generosity shown by the trustees of Vernham Dean Gospel Hall in offering a grant towards the building project at Clarence Road Evangelical Church. This is good news, and we praise God for it. The church is delighted and this has greatly encourage them.  
These stories stand as a testament to the hard work, generosity and commitment of churches new and old. As we look forward to the new year ahead, CGT remains determined to support more churches, helping them grow and spread the Gospel.