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Working the Net Event

In our recent meetings, the Steering Group of the Southwest Baptist Churches Network has been reminded of the significance that networking has had, and should continue to have, among our fellowship of churches. Mindful of the reality of busyness and the intensive character of local ministry, we are looking at new ways we can work together to advance God’s Kingdom in our part of Scotland.

We are now excited to invite you and your churches to our network relaunch event:

  • When? 19 March 2017 5.30pm – 7.30pm
  • Where? Dumfries House, Cumnock, KA18 2NJ
  • Why? To reestablish the vision of the Network, share stories and build a new approach to networking in the area

After careful thought, and as a once-off request, we are asking the network churches to attend this event in place of any regularly-scheduled Sunday evening service on 19 March. We appreciate that this is no small request, but we also feel that the Network has the potential to have a huge impact for the Kingdom of God in our area, and we would love to see as many people and churches as possible taking up this opportunity to help shape the vision and move it forward. The Network is covering the cost of the venue hire and catering (a sandwich tea will be provided) so all you have to do is get your people to Dumfries House!

We look forward to seeing you there!



Since the last copy of Network  News, back in the spring a lot has been happening.

I have had the privilege of speaking at some of the regions churches and at the Broken Chains meeting in Ayr.

In June I attended the Ordination and Induction of Adam Oellermann to the Pastorate in Girvan Milestone Church. Then in July I was delighted to be at the induction of Tendai Mbaserah in Kilmarnock Baptist Church. We pray that both pastors and their fellowships will be richly blessed together and be a blessing to the wider church in the South West.


Praise and Prayer Evening.

On the 17 of May we had our Praise and Prayer meeting for the Network in Stranraer Baptist Church. Naturally some from the North of the region found the distance to travel a bit much – but that was balanced by those from the South of the region being able to attend when they find meetings in the North difficult.

I was able to share something of what is happening in the region and to bring a meditation from God’s Word. Beyond that the church at Stranraer put together an excellent program.

I’ll let Jenny Balmer, from the church (and one of the Networker Support Group) take up the story.

 “The Prayer and Praise Night was held for the first time in Stranraer Baptist Church. It was well attended, especially by the folks from Stranraer and was an evening of great encouragement for everyone who attended.

The church worship band led in praise with everyone responding with some very enthusiastic singing! Kevin Knox, a member of Stranraer Baptist gave his testimony and how he had recommitted his life to the Lord one Christmas Day from his prison cell. He talked very honestly about his personal struggles with drink and how this had led him down the wrong path. Such an encouragement to hear how the Lord is turning his life around.

Rev Stuart MacDonald from Stranraer Baptist gave an update on what had been happening around the church and in the local community. He invited Niall Balmer to report to the congregation about the brand new joint churches venture ‘Rhins Churches Basics Bank’ providing much needed emergency food and supplies for those in need. The empty garage at the church was being used as the store for all the donated items, and since that night it is good to report that the Basics Bank had been well used in these difficult times.

There was also a report from Stuart about a recent Vision Day that the church had held for any members and non-members. This provided an opportunity for the church as a whole to sit down and discuss and share ideas of where the future direction of the church lay. There were some excellent ideas shared, and these are being processed by the leadership at present, with a view to prayerfully bringing some of those ideas into reality as God leads.

All in all, a really encouraging evening. We were all glad to have been there!”

For your diaries, the next Praise and Prayer night will be on 26 Nov. At 7.30 in Bourtreehill Baptist Church.

Picnic and A.G.M.

On 14 Sept. we held the SW Region Picnic combined with our AGM in the wonderful setting of Culzean Country Park. Many thanks to those who did so much of the organisation, mainly Mark Bentham and members of the Networker Support Group.

I’ll let Michelle Oellermann take up this story.

“Despite the weather forecast, the day dawned bright, warm and beautiful and we were going on a picnic. We packed our bags, making sure to have extra wetwipes (always useful when travelling with young children) and we set off for Culzean.

Once everyone had arrived and had a cuppa we started off with some ice-breaker games.  Daniel and Charlotte had a good go at “Over and Under”, we were all worn out by trying to catch the opposite teams tail while trying to hold onto our team in snake formation, but the most exciting has to be Swedish/Belgian  (one forgets – ‘furrin’, in any case)  rounders: a complicated version of baseball/dodge-ball  involving lots of running. Even after being struck out, Daniel insisted on running the full length of the field and back convinced that he had made a home run – confusing the scorekeeper I am sure!  We then played a version of what I know as ‘rag hockey’, but using a very big ball and kicking it football style.

We broke for lunch and many decided to enjoy the fine sunshine and picnic outside, unfortunately the midges had the same idea and chased most of us back indoors.  A postprandial stroll took us around the castle into the Walled Garden. From there we headed to the deer park and after about 20 minutes we headed back to the Stone Barn for praise and worship and the AGM. 

We really had a fantastic day, good fellowship, catching up with friends and enjoying God’s creation. I would encourage you to attend the network functions if you are able – it is always time well-spent!”

I would echo Michelle’s encouragement to join with us at these events. Already we are talking about 2014.

Closing Remarks

Again thank you all for your support in the Networker project and the smaller team that acts as my Support Group. A number of you have contacted for help and advice in different ways and I am pleased to be of assistance whenever I can.

Rev. Vince Jennings

Phone 01770 600222                                e-mail:


Also remember our web-site

Network News – Spring 2013

As long as I don’t go out in the cold, or look at the remaining snow, I can imagine it’s Spring by the clear blue sky. I know some have had an ‘interesting’ first few weeks of Spring none more so than here on Arran.

But despite the unusual weather we have celebrated the most awesome of historic and cosmic events. The very core of our hope, our life and our message, the Good News of Easter. I trust the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection refreshed you anew in your faith and that you had the privilege of seeing others renewed in their faith or brought to faith for the first time.
I know South Beach Church had the wonder of seeing several young people baptised on Palm Sunday evening, what an encouragement that should be to us all whether we were able to be there or not.


Fellowship Meal

It was a joy to see those that could come to the Network Fellowship Meal on 1st March at South Beach. We were blessed by the praise time put together by folk from South Beach and of course the superb meal they prepared for us (did anyone notice the daffodils and a Welsh waitress in honour of it being St. David’s day?)

From feedback I’ve had, the opportunity to move tables between courses and the extended time to get to chat to folk from other fellowships was much appreciated.

One of the hopes for that time was also that you might find something another fellowship was doing, or had done, and get not only new ideas to try but also know who to call on for help and advice.
We are grateful also to Alan Donaldson for taking the time to come and share with us a word of challenge and encouragement.


Church News

Again I’ve asked some folk in our churches to share something of their experience with us. We focus on a particular way they have of reaching outside of their own fellowship into the community.


Basement Youth Cafe (Kilmarnock Church)

Basement Youth Cafe has been running for two years on a Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. We provide 11-18 year olds with a safe space to engage in different activities from painting nails to Xbox games. The young people have space to meet and socialize with old and new friends.

Over a weekend we can see forty to fifty young people from different schools and different family upbringings. At the cafe they come together, forming new friendships and developing their personal and social skills. As staff, we have the privilege of seeing the young people develop and the positive impact this can have. We now look forward to how the cafe can be developed to ensure we can continue to support the young people in the community.


Lunchbox (Arran Church)

It’s pretty safe to say that people usually enjoy nice food and most enjoy company. Add a nice setting, opportunity to meet friends and make friends and, of course, lots of time to chat and you’re there!

That is what is behind ‘Lunchbox’, a fortnightly outreach event run by Arran Baptist Church. Every second Thursday, from September to June, we run this event, when there is also an interesting talk, usually with some Christian input. On some occasions there is a direct gospel challenge, but even when that is not included there is an opportunity at the tables to share Jesus in some way. ‘Lunchbox’ is non-threatening, what we might call ‘low key evangelism’. Apart from giving thanks for the food we don’t have prayers… unless there is something special that folk can relate to.

‘Lunchbox’ is fronted by a couple of older members in the church and there is great co-operation from the whole fellowship. The ‘punters’ love it and God is touching people.

Could this pattern of outreach be what you are looking for in your church?


Other Ideas

It is also worth noting other ventures.

  • Bourtreehill have the Oasis Cafe and Breakfast church.
  • Stranraer are involved with the Food Bank
  • South Beach have started a Debt Counselling service.

If you have ideas it is always worth asking and we can find other churches that might have experiences they can share with you.


Web Site.

Thanks to Rev. Kenneth Ross we are beginning to build a South West Region web site. Do check out this work in progress which we hope will become a useful tool for our churches.


For Your Diary.

We are planning another Praise and Prayer evening this time hosted by Stranraer Baptist Church. This will be on Friday 17 May. We will start at 7.30 and finish by 8.30 followed by a cup of tea concluding at 9 at the latest. (The unusually strict time table is to encourage those travelling a distance to attend.)

22 June will be a big day for Girvan when Adam Oellermann will be ordained and inducted as their pastor. (Events start at 3pm)

Also, following the enjoyable picnic at Culzean last year, we are planning another one for 14th September (NB. changed from original date of 7th September). 11am to 3pm. As part of this we will take a short time for our AGM where churches can confirm, or otherwise, their ongoing support of the Networker system. (More details later.)


I wish you all God’s richest blessings as you work in His Church.

Rev. Vince Jennings (Mission Networker)


Do feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance to you:

12a Murray Place
Isle of Arran
KA27 8NH

Phone: 01770 600 222

Baptists in South West Scotland

Welcome to the South West Baptists website. The site has been created as an initiative of the South West Baptist Network of churches, a grouping of churches within South West Scotland that hold to Baptist principles and distinctives.

The website serves as an information source for not only local church contact details, but also of events taking place within the area, in which one or more of our local churches may be involved.


Please come by regularly, and keep up to date with what is happening. The site has only just been launched, and lots of information is still to be added.