The first Baptist service took place in the old Nairn Community Centre in 1989. Services were started by 12 members of Inverness Baptist Church (then known as Castle Street Baptist Church) who lived within or close to Nairn. In May 1992 Nairn Baptist Church was officially commissioned by the Baptist Union of Scotland. Over the years, we've been led by four pastors; Rev. Scott McIntosh, Rev. George Ayoma, Rev. Tim Power and Rev. Dr Philip Egglestone who retired on May 26th 2019.
Having met in the old community centre for many years, we have been in the Nairn Community and Arts Centre since it was completed in 2008. Our young church has seen nearly 100 young people come through its ministry and seeks to serve God in supporting those who attend in their faith and be a strong and caring Christian witness in our town. Our congregation spans generations and has individuals from all walks of life attending as we look to God and the Bible to guide us.
Although a church with mostly older members at present, our worship style reflects our love of a range of styles and we have many accomplished musicians and singers bringing their talents and interests to our approach. During the pandemic, we have worshipped using zoom, using music clips and recordings of some of our well oved songs. Since starting to meet in person, we are now returning to play live but still include a mix of styles.
We are proud that in 2017 our church family celebrated 25 years of our community. We held events throughout the year on the theme of our anniversary, the 23rd Psalm.
Early in the year, we set up an art competition for local Primary schools where children were asked to design a picture of anything from the Bible. We were amazed and overjoyed to receive around 700 pictures! A member of the local Arts society chose the 10 winners with cards being created from those top 10 designs and each child receiving a prize. Our Creativity Exhibition(see below) was held in April and we put on a concert in May - including our music group and other talent connected to the church. £1000 was raised which went to support a fund connected to the local hospital. In addition, from afternoon teas on a farm to designing a local walks leaflet, our year celebrated the creativity and community that we share as a church.
Later in the year, a group in the church produced a book to celebrate the past 25 years and to look forward into the future. With contributions from members, both past and present, Watermarks became an anthology of the people that make our church what it is.
Earlier in the year the broad artistic abilites of our congregation were displayed in an exhibition of work around the 23rd Psalm. You can see some images of the event and of the original works below.
It was great to meet our French Missionary, Christine, early in the year and to hear about her work on the outskirts of Paris. In the year, we also heard from speakers from Asia Link and TEAR Fund. We are indeed all so different in our talents and interests.
In addition to our ongoing contact with Primary schools and Nairn Academy, we joined with other churches to host, feed and support the Youth For Christ Touring Team who held a mission in the school.
Have a listen to one of their great songs
We really want to take every opportunity to share our Christian walk and life with others and we have also felt very blessed as other churches have helped us.
At Easter time, we joined with a number of other local churches as part of our shared Easter programme.
We were able to benefit from being at the URC church for a number of evenings doing a special study on sharing our faith.
In this year's unique Remembrance Day event, we joined with the whole town in the community event celebrating 100 years since the end of the First World War.
We are so grateful to the Free church for allowing us to use their building for our Christmas Day service which was a wonderful celebration for us at the end of this year.
In some ways, the year had two parts. The first part saw the last few months of our minister Philip being with us and so we worshipped together, heard final words and prepared for the time ahead. We enjoyed sharing Easter with other churches at the Free Church and took time to look at discipleship issues with Philip.
For the rest of the year, we were led by the Leadership Team with Jonathan Turner preaching quite a bit alongside other speakers.
What can we say about 2020 - it started out in such a usual way but our lives were turned upside down weren't they?
Our theme through the year was the Gospel of Luke and our hope was that we would explore the life and words of Jesus - to really hear his words again for our time and follow the action. We sometimes forget the excitement of the Gospels and we were really interested in what made Luke different form the other Gospels - what was his unique voice?
The church also took a step in a new direction by employing Jonathan Turner in a developmental/supporting role for 10 hours per week during the time that Jonathan was finishing his studies.
Very quickly, from March 2020, we had to change and adapt to teh new situation so our services began online and we remained on zoom right into the New Year. This brought some advantages as some were able to take part in services for the first time in along while and the disadvantages of just not meeting up in person and have the physical fellowship that we were so used to and that makes good community. We so want to return to a situation where most if not all can meet on Sundays in person. But, we also learned that we could change and move quickly, we learned new digital skills and we also began to use zoom for many other meetings - leading to completing a number of on-line courses - like Pete Greig's 24/7 prayer course.
During the year, we did a lot of work on some background stuff and we laid the foundations of our new SCIO which we completed in 2021. As part of this work, we looked again at our Consitution and did work on this to lead us towards becoming a church with open membership - again, completed more fully in 2021.
We were very well suported by the Baptist Union throughout Lockdown in receiving lots of information to update us on the latest guidance but also in them coordinating weekly prayer events which we could link with and this led on to the first fully digital Assembly in 2020. Out of this came one of our core plans which is Renew Wellbeing.
Early in the year, we linked in with Ruth Rice from Renew Wellbeing and began to plan towards having a Renew space in the town. This has been an ongoing work through the year.
Our main theme through Sundays has been the letter of 1 Peter and we also spent some time in the first few weeks considering vision and hearing from God. This has been a challenging letter for us as we have considered the realities of being scattered and being weak in many ways so that others may offend and even persecute us but also knowing this is more of a reality for many overseas.
A big plan for the church came after July 2021, when we began to work towards the purchase of a local shop/office property in the town. The concept here is that this should be a church "hub" from which we operate and this is a much more visible presence - even if it is not a worship centre. This will see us into 2021 in terms of planning and taking the practical steps necessary, in God's leading and timing.
Out of our thinking and planning and many discussions over the last 2 years, we have developed our faith statement which is at the top of the page - FAITH FOR TODAY - LIVING AND SHARING THE LOVE OF JESUS. We have covenanted together for this coming year and we have developed the areas we woudl like to work on to grow and to be a support to our own and the wider community in the coming year.
Lord, lead us forward in your will and in your way. .
On 21st January 2023, Jonathan was inducted as the minister of the church - our 5th minister over our 30 years. Jonathan has been a long-standing member of the church and has been part of the leadership team over many years. Have worked with the Highland Council for many years in Social Work, he took early retirement in April 2016, began his theological training in January 2017 and completed those studies in May 2021. He has been undertaking the Pre-accredited Ministry pathway with the Baptist Union for 3 years and this will be completed this year.
Having got going in our new season of ministry, we seek to be a welcoming place for all who are seeking to explore faith and to follow Jesus.
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Every Sunday Morning @ 11am