I started church-going late in life. We had visited my wife’s sister in America and went with her to the Baptist church she attended, and liked it.
When we returned we decided to try a church here in Horsham and Brighton Road Baptist Church was a natural choice.
I remember hearing church members talk about the ‘Church Family’ and I thought it was ‘Church Speak’.
However, gradually I realised how real it was. When, for example, we were baptised we felt a surge of warmth and support sustaining us as we gave our testimonies telling how we came to commit our lives to Christ.
That was in the days of the late Rev David Richardson, for whom we developed a great affection. A big man in every way; very human but with an intense belief in the essentials of the Christian Faith. I was especially impressed by his honesty. When he couldn’t answer a question he just said so, no flannel.
David’s early death was a great loss but we, like the church, came through it. For the last four years we have been very fortunate to have Rev Dr Tim Carter as our Minister, very different but equally inspiring. Thanks to his vision, energy and enthusiasm our numbers are growing, with more young people coming in.
So how would I characterise Brighton Road now? Well, it’s a big church with lots going on throughout the week but what I value most is still the friendliness and the freedom, the lack of pressure to conform.
You can be honest about what you believe and what you don’t and discuss your queries openly in the church’s small home groups. There is a lot of laughter too.
All this is evidence, to my mind, that the Holy Spirit is there at work in our fellowship, giving us the chance to become better people.
I had good cause to be thankful very recently during a spell in hospital. The warmth of support from church friends was a great help and a lovely reminder of how much it now means to us.
Stephen Garrish, Brighton Road Baptist Church, Horsham