Crossways Community Baptist Church
Having been convicted by the Lord of the need for a ministry designed to bring support to those individuals in the community with spiritual, mental, social or physical problems in July 2004, after much prayer, “Project 61” began. This was an umbrella organisation, taking as its commission Isaiah 61: 1-3, and able to respond to needs as they arose. As time has gone on it has become apparent this is so much a reflection of the church that we now consider this to be the community ministry of the church and are no longer calling it “Project 61”. We have also rewritten our vision statement as follows: Our Vision is to be an inclusive church that encourages all to grow into relationship with God and presents Jesus in a way that all people can understand and respond to.
At the moment there are five different groups within the ministry:
- Crossways Praise Club: A monthly cell group for adults with learning disabilities.
- The Sunday Club: A monthly social activities group for adults with learning disabilities.
- Top Tots: A twice weekly toddlers group.
- The Women’s Friendship group: A support group, for women finding life particularly difficult, which meets once a week.
- Time Out: A once weekly coffee shop/drop in, open to all, with opportunity to talk, get prayer or counselling, or just read the paper and drink some of the best fair trade tea, coffee or hot chocolate in town - all for which there is no charge.
The church was built in 1876 with a variety of different floor levels and, consequently, was not built with disabilities in mind. Because of this we have carried out a number of alterations to the building, putting in new, wider, exterior doors and ramps and changing floor levels, all of which has made the majority of the building accessible to all. We also have an easy access toilet designed with wheelchair users in mind - this toilet has facilities to cover all toiletry needs including support rails, disposable gloves and disinfectant wipes.
Approximately three years ago we had our song book produced in Braille. Although at present we don’t have anyone in the church that has a need for this, should there be a need at any time it is there and will be kept up to date with any changes to the song book in the future.
Whilst we use a video projector in church during worship and presentations in sermons, were we to have someone with sight problems we have a policy in place to have someone sit alongside and quietly describe what is going on. We held a training day for the church to learn Makaton signing (used by some people with learning disabilities, as well as some children) to give an overview of signing for the church in general, whilst one of our members is more fully trained in Makaton and signs at our regular monthly inclusive services as well as other services when possible.
Members of our Learning Disabilities Team have been to other local churches to help lead their disabilities celebrations and in June ‘09 we hosted the first of a series of quarterly celebrations for learning disabilities groups from across Surrey, lead by our team.
Our Services normally include; large print projection, iInduction loop amplification, easy read Bible and New Testaments, appropriate teaching materials and access to appropriate seating; on occasions we have Makaton signing as well. The church is blessed because everyone taking part receives back far, far more than they give and all have grown in faith as a result. We will continue to adjust and adapt as needs arise.