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Origins of Sierra Leone Mission

selina countess article

Young members of The Connexion, Charlotte and Esther, have created some inspired recordings, focusing on the history of the Countess of Huntingdon's outreach and early churches in Sierra Leone.

Click on the links below to view their videos (parts 1, 2 and 3) about the origins of the mission:

Part 1

sierra leone 18c     

Part 2

sierra leone 18c

Part 3

sierra leone 18c

Today the Sierra Leone Mission (SLM) supports a wide range of projects as well as helping to provide education through Connexion schools, including funding assistance for teachers’ salaries and training. SLM also gives support to the work of our churches in Sierra Leone: contributing to ministers’ wages, providing funding for ministerial training, and building and maintaining churches. 

To make a donation to support our work in Sierra Leone

Click on the Donations button at the top of the website page. This will take you through to the SLM donations account. If you would like your donation to go to a particular project, please state.

By Bank Transfer: 

Barclays Bank
Sort code: 20-16-08, Account number: 30799076, Account name: Sierra Leone Mission 

By cheque: 

To: Sierra Leone Mission. Postal address: Janet Foord, 2 Cheyne Close, Church Milton Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 2SQ 

All donations received go to support our communities in Sierra Leone. 

 

Wanted Trustees!

We are looking for 4 new Trustees to join our existing friendly team.

About us

The Connexion includes 22 churches spread across the UK. Each church has its own style, and all are bound together with a shared love of Jesus.

Our background

The Countess of Huntingdon established The Connexion in the 18th Century, using her resources to build new churches and train preachers to spread the Gospel as far and wide as possible. She was highly respected by people from all levels of society, and she had the courage to challenge and break the rules of an intensely patriarchal and prejudiced social system. She became a good friend and confidante of John Wesley, Charles Wesley and George Whitfield, who were celebrated advocates of the Methodist Revival and she dedicated her life to spreading Christ’s mission.

Today, The Connexion is a strong family community that is dedicated to continuing The Countess’ legacy and love of Christ, with a strong emphasis on outreach, friendship and caring. Our collective aims to welcome, network and support are deeply embedded in our culture.

What's involved

Our agendas vary, but our main focus is to help our ministers and congregations to share their love of Jesus with their communities. Resources are limited, so one role of the Trustees is to help us to use our assets and modest income in the best way to support our churches.

Time commitment

4 Trustee meetings a year, either held in London or at one of our churches (and currently via Zoom). Between meetings we keep in touch by email, phone and online platforms. 

The amount of work you are able to contribute entirely depends on your personal circumstances. All of our Trustees are volunteers and some also have full-time professions. 

What's needed

No formal qualifications are necessary, but each of our Trustees regularly attends one of our Connexion churches. 

To apply

To apply, please email our Chair of Trustees, David Lockett at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. David will be pleased to provide you with more information or answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, please get in touch with your minister or another of our Trustees.

We'd be delighted to welcome you to our enthusiastic, friendly and happy team!

Bethany Green - Trustee

‘One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.’ (Psalm 27:4)

The beauty of this verse never fails to take my breath away. It is as though the world stops spinning and everything pauses as I realise the deepest longings of my soul – to enter into the holy place, the temple of God and His presence. 

Yes, I know that God is omnipresent. I know that we come to Him in faith and His presence is always with us no matter where we go or where we are. But my love of history and sense of being part of the ‘great crowd of witnesses’ (1) means that I seek out those places where God has been worshipped for years, centuries and even millennium. I love to tread the ancient paths that lead to abbeys, cathedrals and chapels. The worship that I offer today in my generation mingles with the eternity of voices crying, 'Hallelujah!'(2) to the Lord God, creator and sovereign of all. This is my small part in the endless praise of my Heavenly Father and what a privilege it is.

This, then, is why I love the church. God’s people, whom He has called to be holy and set apart for Him; the people He loves, the folk we will spend eternity with. And since my mid-teens when I grasped the picture of the body of Christ given by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12, I have made a commitment to do whatever I can to contribute to the ‘common good’ of the church.

Over the years this desire has led me to different areas of ministry in different countries and parts of the UK. Aged 18 I helped with humanitarian aid trips to Eastern Europe supporting churches and ministries that were serving in the new opened countries of the former soviet block. And then I headed to California and spent some time with the Vineyard church. Aged 21 I moved to Belfast and worked for a mission organisation called Logos Ministries whilst also living and ministering in a very rough, paramilitarily controlled area of south-west Belfast. After meeting my husband we moved to Stoke-on-Trent where John worked for UCB and we helped a church that had lost their leaders. In 2008 John was called to pastor at Rosedale Community Church and this is now ‘home’.

It is my love of God’s church and the desire to encourage its health and growth that causes me to serve the Connexion at present as a Trustee. The role is a voluntary one and we all bring our own gifts and contributions (like the ‘members of the body’ that Paul talks about), our own peculiarities and personalities. But we are all followers of Jesus and genuinely care about the people in the Connexion, those who make up our past heritage, those who are members today, and those who will follow on after us.

My prayer is to faithfully serve in my time. Perhaps you too feel a passion for God’s people and have gifts and talents to offer that will be invaluable? Please do consider joining us and experiencing the joy and privilege of working in partnership with God and others for the sake of His church, His people, His bride.

Bethany Green, Trustee and Pastor at Rosedale Community Church

(1) Hebrews 12:1

(2) Revelation 19:1

New Churches Sierra Leone

New church at Mile 91

The congregation at St Marks Cathedral joined a service with the community at Mile 91 for worship in the new church building (not yet completed). 

mile 91 service

With St Marks providing the majority of support, construction of the church began last year using local materials and the roofing has also now been completed.  

New nursery and churches in northern villages

The new Christian nursery school at Kamakontheke, a Muslim dominated village in the north of Sierra Leone, is now up and running and has the regular attendance of a small fellowship of children. With the nearest primary school being three miles distant, it is the first time children have been able to attend a school in their own village.

new nursery kamakontheke

Last weekend also saw the laying of foundations for a new church building at Kamakontheke. Local materials and labour will be utilised for the development, and the village Imam joined in prayer for the dedication of the land and building. 

church foundations

In addition, work has begun on the construction of another new church at Mathoir, which is also a Muslim dominated village in north Sierra Leone.

Message from Magnus

‘We are so thankful for your prayers. It takes faith and passion to step out, mobilise and venture. These villages are poor places with some of the poorest people, and so many things become a blessing for them. For instance, food provided for workers clearing the land, is what they depend on for their daily meal. We have no option but to provide as much as we can, hoping we can feed a whole village each day with relatively decent food.

‘Also some of the shipment tablets we have received, eg cocodamol and a few others that I buy, are taken to serve the many village people who do not have access to good medicine. We have a lot of fake medicine in Sierra Leone. 

The children are so happy with encouragement that we give them, because many cannot find this love elsewhere. I know that our country has always had these problems, and also that we can't do everything. It takes a well-organised system to prioritise what is needed in addition to our focus on major projects like the Health Clinic.’

 

How to make a Donation

Click on the Donations button at the top of the website page. This will take you through to the SLM donations account. If you would like your donation to go to a particular project, please state.

By Bank Transfer: 

Barclays Bank
Sort code: 20-16-08, Account number: 30799076, Account name: Sierra Leone Mission 

By cheque: 

To: Sierra Leone Mission. Postal address: Janet Foord, 2 Cheyne Close, Church Milton Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 2SQ 

All donations received go to support our communities in Sierra Leone. 

Voice - Spring 2021

Another great issue of The Voice covers a wide range of topics to keep you informed and entertained!

The spring edition includes reports and updates from the Sierra Leone Mission, including news from Bethesda Childrens' Home and the new Health Centre at Brama, which is making excellent progress.

There's a Bible Study from Nigel Gordon-Potts at Goring Free Church, a message from Simon Allaby at Bolney Chapel Throwing the nets on the other side! and a 'glimpse' of the young Selina, the Countess of Huntingdon, and the Chapel of the Holy Trinity at Stauton Harold, where she attended as a young girl, by Robert Webb.

Paul Woodbridge outlines details of Pastoral Support, provided to our Ministers, and Ben Quant gives us an insight into the role of our Trustees, with a request to join the team!

Click on the link below to read in full - and enjoy!

The Voice - Spring 2021

Lockdown Services

Our Lockdown services are continuing, with many of our churches streaming online gatherings and messages to connect our communities in worship, prayers, bible readings and much-needed support and inspiration.

Below is a list of the online services and gatherings that are being broadcasted. We will publish and update details of all available recordings with links for you to access.

We look forward to reaching even more of our church members, some of whom do not currently have a service to join.

 

Available online church broadcasts

  • The new Lockdown Band website is hosting songs, video and audio recordings put together during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Link: www.wormleylockdownband.com
  • Copthorne Chapel has begun posting a weekly services on their website. Link: www.copthornechapel.org.uk
  • Wormley Free Church is posting Sunday services each week, which can be accessed though their website. The services are followed by a Zoom get-together for a virtual cup of coffee and a chat. Link: www.wormleyfreechurch.org.uk
  • Rosedale Community Church has a selection of Sunday messages available on their YouTube page. Link: Rosedale Community Church
  • Bolney Village Chapel is streaming Sunday services on their Facebook page. The services begin at 10.30am for approximately 45 mins and include worship, Bible readings and teaching. Link: Bolney Village Chapel
  • South Street Free Church has also been posting Sunday services on their YouTube page, including Bible readings, hymns, songs and sermons. Link: South Street Free Church
  • Goring Free Church is streaming Sunday video recordings on their YouTube page. Each week there is a playlist of worship songs to accompany the series of sermons. Link: Goring Free Church
  • The Countess Free Church, Elyhave Livestreams of their whole church zoom gatherings, which occur roughly fortnightly on YouTube at Countess Free Church. They also create weekly messages that are available via their podcasts; to access these, go to their website: www.countessely.co.uk 
  • It's a great way to keep our strong community together during these challenging times, and our churches welcome you to join in!

Brama Health Centre Video

Work on the new Brama Health Centre, Sierra Leone is continuing to make excellent progress, with windows and doors installed and plastering on the exterior of the building taking shape. The clinic is situated opposite Bethesda Children's Home and will serve communities from 35 villages. 

Generous funding enabled the purchase of land in 2019 and the necessary building materials to take the development this far. There is a great need for health facilities in Sierra Leone and this centre will primarily serve children, babies and mothers. Once completed the project will be self-funded, but additional funds are still required to reach the point of completion.

Click on the YouTube link below, to view how the project has progressed:

How to make a Donation

Click on the Donations button at the top of the website page. This will take you through to the SLM donations account. If you would like your donation to go to a particular project, please state.

By Bank Transfer: 

Barclays Bank
Sort code: 20-16-08, Account number: 30799076, Account name: Sierra Leone Mission 

By cheque: 

To: Sierra Leone Mission. Postal address: Janet Foord, 2 Cheyne Close, Church Milton Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 2SQ 

All donations received go to support our communities in Sierra Leone. 

Reaching out at Zion

Despite not being able to open their doors during Lockdown periods, Zion Community Church in St Ives have come up with a range of initiatives to continue to engage and support their local communities.

Online Quiz Nights

Zion has been holding online Quiz Evenings to help to build a sense of community, welcome new people and generally have some fun! The evenings have been accessible to young and old, church family and guests, as well as friends and family from further afield.

Monthly Evangelistic Meetings

Once a month Zion has been hosting a visiting speaker to be interviewed online, followed by a short talk and time for Q&As. Topics discussed have ranged from "Where is God in hard times?” and “Where is history headed?” to hearing about God’s work in East Africa, featuring an online guest from Kampala.

Leaflet Distribution

Prior to the most recent lockdown, members of Zion distributed 1,000 leaflets in the local area to offer people hope and support, with advice about how they can make contact with the church if needed, either in-person or online.

The Future

Zion is currently praying and thinking through what new openings there might be once the Lockdown restrictions start to be eased. They are acutely aware that this pandemic is taking its toll on people in many different ways. Their collective aim is to serve their neighbours, one another and the Lord.

For more information about Zion Community Church, visit their website

New Ebola Outbreak

There have been two new outbreaks of Ebola in two weeks; the first in the Democratic Republic of Congo, followed by Guinea. Health teams are trying to contain the spread of the disease by increasing contact tracing and providing medical support to local authorities. 

Guinea declared an Ebola epidemic on 14 February after three people died and four others became ill in the rural southeast of the country. It is the first reported outbreak in West Africa since a region-wide pandemic ended five years ago after claiming more than 11,000 lives.

The initial case in Guinea’s new outbreak involved a nurse in rural Gouéké who died on 28 January, and the six other reported cases were people who had attended her 1 February funeral. 

This current outbreak is very close to the border of Sierra Leone and there is a real threat and fear that it will spread. Ebola is a virus which spreads through contact with body fluids. It does have a much higher death rate than the Coronavirus, but is not spread by asymptomatic carriers.

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has reportedly flown to Guinea to consult with Guinean President Alpha Condé.

Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia bore the brunt of the 2014-2016 West African Ebola outbreak – which began in Guinea – and killed 11,300 people. 

Aid agencies are warning that speed is key to containing the spread of the virus, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Guinean Red Cross say teams that include more than 2,500 volunteers have been activated in Guinea to provide contact tracing, psychosocial support, water, and sanitation.

Magnus Bendu asks for prayer for our communities in Sierra Leone

  • Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone and for the grieving families of those who have died from the disease. 
  • Memories of the 2014-2016 outbreak of Ebola are still very fresh in the minds of everyone. Please pray that this one will be quickly contained.

Thank you for your financial and prayer support for the Sierra Leone Mission, it is deeply appreciated.

Sources: The New Humanitarian

Graphic: Designed by gstudioimagen/Freepik

Young People and Scripture

The Countess Free Church, Ely, doesn't believe in simply ‘passing on’ our faith to their young people. Instead, they would prefer youths come to faith in Jesus for themselves, discovering they can know and follow Jesus directly!

So rather than just giving instruction on Christian belief (such as what certain passages in the Bible mean and so on), they would rather give them the tools so that they can start working it through for themselves.

This means encouraging them to have a go in aspects of leadership, and to form their own peer led Bible studies. Such occasions are not about one person having all the answers to give out to the others, but each person wrestling and working it through with each other in a group context.

Of course some input from the older and wiser is added into the mix, and the group as a whole are called to be accountable to the wider church. Yet the peer led approach leads to a richer process of discovery, laying the groundwork for deeper discipleship habits hopefully for years to come.

The young people’s peer led Bible study group sessions are part of the overall youth portfolio: the youth work aspect of Countess Free Church.

During the Lockdown period The Countess Free Church has Livestreams of their whole church zoom gatherings, which occur roughly fortnightly on YouTube at Countess Free Church. They also create weekly messages that are available via their podcasts; to access these, go to their website: www.countessely.co.uk 

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