Just outside the London M25 orbital motorway lies the small Kent town of Edenbridge. It’s a great place to live, in the beautiful Eden River valley, and is a diverse community of all ages and social backgrounds. There is much need and several areas of apparent social deprivation.
In 2015 God called me, Dave, and Sue White, to move here and plant a church, along with several good friends from our home church in Biggin Hill and other Regions Beyond churches.
Hence, Grace Community Church was started. Right from the start, we knew that our vision was to be a church in the community and for the community, especially reaching many unchurched households in the area. Although starting small, and still relatively small, we carry a big heart and vision, not just for our local town but further afield as it’s such a privilege to be part of the wider family of Regions Beyond across the world.
During the COVID pandemic, we continued to reach out, especially using online Alpha courses. This resulted in reaching people in four other towns in Kent. A number became Christians and are now part of other church communities. One of our courses ended up being shown in a residential home for ex-offenders with 13 or more men, all accepting Jesus. An online Youth Alpha course proved helpful to our young people as we also had several participants from
Zambia in Africa.
Over the last seven years, we have become well known in Edenbridge. Our work with children, mainly of unchurched families, is now well respected and schools sometimes refer kids to us. We have run clubs in the local leisure center, various community spaces, outside in grassed areas on the estates, and the main local school. Sue regularly goes into the four local schools to take Christian-based assemblies.
In 2021 we also launched Edenbridge Foodbank, which is supported by all the local churches in the area. Through this, we are meeting many people with a huge variety of needs. A number have been prayed for and come along to Sunday worship meetings. Through this project, we also partnered with other agencies to help people facing debt and other financial challenges, as well as those with other significant difficulties. All this has made us realize how many people are in real need of hearing of the hope of the gospel in Jesus Christ. There are many other community-based activities that the church has been involved in.
Recently, there have been two occasions when people outside of the church have said to me that the impact of the church has changed the atmosphere in Edenbridge and it has made such a great difference. Praise God for His grace and faithfulness!
We continue to preach the word, worship, and expect the Holy Spirit to move amongst us. We have seen several baptisms now, and lives are continually being changed for His glory.