When EBC started, Bracknell was a new town and EBC was formed as the town began to grow. We celebrated our 60th anniversary of church gatherings on site in the summer of 2022.
It all began when a few people started meeting in a home and quickly our current site was acquired and the first building on the site was a builder's hut! Here are some things that have happened in more recent years to shape the church EBC has become today…
2008: Rev. Chris Porter is appointed as ‘Senior Minister’ with the church agreeing that God is calling us to a new set of values and a new mission and vision to reach people who have never been to church, or don’t usually go to church anymore.
2009: The church begins to look at extending the buildings at South Hill Road. Rev. Steph Littlejohn becomes Assistant Minister and is ordained in 2010.
2010-2015: Chris Porter leads a gradual expansion of EBC’s staff team, including the appointment of Simon Lace who joins the staff team in 2010 to develop our work with older people. Simon subsequently leads the relaunch of our Storehouse ministry that helps local people in need. EBC partners with other local churches in the Night Shelter scheme set up in Bracknell by Pilgrim Hearts Trust, a wonderful local charity that we support.
Chris Porter leads several overseas trips to North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia. The trips inspire EBC to focus more intentionally on an outward-looking vision of EBC as “a church that ‘unchurched’ people love to attend”.
During this time, EBC member Dr. Abs Dumbuya establishes a charity called The Dorothy Springer Trust (DST) to help people with disabilities in his country of birth, Sierra Leone. EBC becomes DST’s partner, and also partners with Regent Road Baptist Church in Freetown, Sierra Leone to plant a new church and school in a village called Tombo. The local congregation decide to name the new church plant ‘Easthampstead Baptist Church (Tombo)’! A second church and school is subsequently built in the village of Morcombay too.
2016: Rev. Chris Porter is called to Andover Baptist Church, sadly leaving EBC. The church is led through a time of transition, with Rev. Steph Littlejohn and Simon Lace partnering as acting Senior Ministers at this time.
2017 - Present: Simon Lace is appointed as EBC’s Team Leader in March 2017 and is formally inducted into the role on Sunday 24th September 2017, while Steph Littlejohn is recognised as our Minister until her retirement at the end of 2020. Simon begins the formal process of formation as an accredited Baptist Minister in 2019 – a process due to finish in 2024.
Through this transitional season, we have revisited our purpose, mission and vision statements to make sure they reflect our desire to continue reaching people who don’t normally come to church and to deepen our/their spiritual growth.
We stabilise our finances with a view to “living within our giving”, emphasising the importance of generous and sacrificial giving to make possible all that we do as a self-financing church community. There is a restructure of our staff team, including the appointments of Philippa Marsh as our new Ministry Director and Kevin McCarthy as our General Assistant/Caretaker. Kat Jarvis becomes our Finance Manager, working with our Treasurer, Rob Lea, to ensure good financial stewardship.
We refocus our Social Action, with Fay Philp now leading our practical support both for local people in need (and, more recently, for refugees escaping Afghanistan and Ukraine). Kevin supports Fay in the practical aspects of our Storehouse ministry, while Kim Perchard’s role widens to assist in all areas of ministry.
A deeper partnership is established with Christian Solidarity Worldwide, with exchange visits taking place, alongside our existing partnerships with Tearfund and of course our great friends in Sierra Leone (RRBC/DST) with whom exchange visits occur regularly.
In March 2020, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic leads us to offer “EBC Online”, and our services appear on YouTube. During the pandemic, we renovated the lobby, main hall, loos and the roof!
Since in-person services resumed, new people have been attracted to EBC and we’re delighted that people of all colours, ages and abilities are making EBC their church home! Celebrating our 60th Anniversary in the summer of 2022, we recommitted ourselves to our purpose, mission, vision and values and affirmed again that it our heart’s desire to see people not just coming to church, but coming to Christ.
Our current elders, leadership team and staff recognise that we really are standing on the shoulders of those who established EBC all those years ago (too many to mention them all here!) and everyone who has developed things, each in and for their season, along the way.
We are both proud and humbled to pick up the torch and look forward with confidence to what God does in the next season of life at EBC, this little branch of His mighty, holy and eternal church.