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Christmas in a new community

Date: 14 December 2021

We are a Diocese committed to seeing new worshipping communities planted, developed and thrive. One such community is St Barbara’s Community Church in Deepcut, a church-plant launched in February 2020. Church-plants are often far from straightforward and facing a global-pandemic was an unusual challenge to add to the list of difficulties for a church-plant. However, that hasn’t stopped St Barbara’s from connecting with its community, sharing God’s love and growing in the process. 

A planting team of 18 from St Paul’s Camberley, led by pioneer minister Revd Daniel Natnael (now Minister in Charge), joined with 10 existing members to form the new congregation of St Barbara’s, some 20 months ago. Its church building is at the centre of Mindenhurst village, a brand-new housing development on the former site of the Deepcut barracks. 

St Barbara’s vision is to ‘Connect. Grow. Serve.” and from the get-go was able to connect and invest in the growth of the wider community by asking “how can we best serve you?” With many young families moving into the village there was a loud cry for toddler groups, as well as opportunities to connect. St Barbara’s now runs a new weekly baby & toddler group with 40 families already connected to it. The Coffee & Chat mornings is another activity that is enjoyed by the community. One mother from the toddler group said, “the group has given me opportunity to meet new friends and have a sense of belonging after such a difficult 20 month due to the pandemic”.

As part of the village development, the church building will undergo renovation work and is currently unable to be used. St Barbara’s, however, have been able to utilise the newly built school building ahead of opening for its first cohort of pupils in the next academic year or two. Although they don’t have access to the church building, they are making use of the church grounds and their wonderful creativity this Christmas as they host an open-air Community Carol Service in the car park, and a host of other activates in the new school. Daniel describes the opportunity as “being able to start without any baggage!” – a new church community in a new village, both with a blank canvas.

Having doubled the size of its congregation since its launch in February 2020, everyone at St Barbara’s is keen to bring the Christmas cheer to the local community, popping some 1000 invites through homes in the village and beyond. If you would like to join St Barbara’s for any of their Christmas or weekly events then please have a look at their Christmas publicity here, they will greet you with a very warm welcome!

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