Would you like to know the nuts and bolts of what we stand for?
We’re a growing Christian community of imperfect people. We’ve got quite a pedigree of Christian-care for people and the area around Godalming. Our earliest records go back to 1202AD.
We don’t claim to be any better than anyone else in the street. This means everyone is welcome. We have the same struggles and aspirations as anyone else. Where we hope we are different is that we are learning to live out our beliefs in our daily lives.
To help us in this journey of living for God we meet across three sites in six congregations. We are united in our vision to grow as followers of Jesus. Each congregation and location is slightly different in character but all have the same DNA of identity and shared belief and habits centred on the Bible and Jesus Christ.
We believe in abundant love, laughter, growth, grace, goodness, friendship, walking alongside those in sadness and loss, encountering God, encouraging faith in Jesus and discovering the forgiving power of the Cross.
Our hope is that everyone who experiences Busbridge and Hambledon Church will find their life is changed by the Holy Spirit because this change has an eternal impact.
We have lots of activities going on. Some are about transforming local communities, some focus on loving God through different expressions of worship and others are about becoming and making disciples – or learners – of Jesus.
These are our mission: loving God, making disciples, transforming communities. We have a vision to bring the nation to Christ.
Our activities are overseen by a group of trustees. They are collectively called the Parish Church Council and include the clergy, church wardens, treasurer and about 20 other people. You can find out more on the governance of the church here.
As a church we have a set of values, otherwise known as doctrines. They are the basis of our existence. We are an Anglican church and part of the Church of England so we’re here for everyone, whoever they are. We are here to serve the entire local community because we believe this is God’s call on our lives.
The basis of our values is found in the 39 Articles of Religion.
You sometimes hear people suggesting Christians should leave their belief, views and prayer ‘at home’ or ‘in church’. This misses the point behind the way we seek to live every aspect of our lives. We have a duty and calling to care for everyone, no matter who they are. We cannot leave this ‘at home’ or ‘in church’.
We’re a Church of England church with a mission to care. We care about people. We care about this area. We care about the World God has given us to look after. We care about Jesus Christ.
Because of our faith in Jesus Christ we have a pattern, vision and value underpinning our care. We care in this way because God asks us to be concerned for everyone; no matter who they are or their religious, cultural or personal situation. Jesus put it very clearly: Love God : Love Neighbour.
We don’t force people to come to church. Busbridge and Hambledon Church is growing because there is something beyond the human here. We don’t parade our faith. People ask questions because they see something is different here. We don’t make people change their lifestyle. We leave this to God and play our part seeking to live in his pattern and ways.
Jesus never made anyone listen to him. When Jesus turned up, 5,000 people chose to come along in at least one Bible account. Why? Because He had, and has, something incredible to share: His own life and a life in relationship with God the Father.
Likewise, we are a growing community who believe not in church attendance but in lives that are constantly changing, under God’s leading, for the better. Lives changed by knowing that Jesus rose from the dead for all people. It is an offer to become fully growing followers of Jesus with hope for eternity. In our view, it’s all good news and means we must care for our neighbours: whoever they are.
We believe that everyone can know Jesus Christ and have a relationship with the One true God through the unique work of Jesus on a cross in about 30AD. In the UK there tend to be four views of Jesus:
- Jesus who?
- Jesus, a really nice man
- Jesus, an amazing prophet of God
- Jesus, the strange one with a group of friends who ‘made up’ his story some years later
What did Jesus think? He himself claimed to be on His Father’s mission.
We’d say Jesus died in real time, in a real place on a real cross. He rose from the dead three days later. This is unique. It’s not the sort of claim to make lightly and if he’d stayed dead many may say Christianity would be an easier philosophical system to believe in and follow. This is where exploring facts and the development of faith become entwined. As Jesus did rise the authorities couldn’t simply drag the body from the grave to disprove it. The Bible tells us that in 40 days hundreds of people saw Jesus, spoke with Him, cooked fish on a beach with Him or touched Him. Some years later his first followers were welcoming death rather than deny the truth of that which they had personally experienced.
This Jesus event was a once in the Universe moment for the whole of Creation. Such an event requires a response from each of us.
Jesus kept the next step simple but it is a step with profound consequences to change our lives and the patterns of living we engage in. A Christian says ‘sorry for my sins, I long to believe you (Jesus) are the Son of God and I’m going to start living it as best I can, with God’s help’. We respect that not everyone would share this belief. For us, it is the core of our DNA and why we have so many activities and meet together on Sundays and through the week.
We are a Christian church, part of the Church of England and linked with several Christian groups locally and regionally. Our belief is that of the Orthodox, historical Christian church through the ages.
Church is not an hour on a Sunday. It is the people of Jesus who are learning to be more like Him every day.
Church is about a growing community of Jesus living the struggles of life just like anyone else. Just as you cannot run a car without regular visits to the petrol station, it is virtually impossible to run effectively as a Christian without access to a growing involvement in being together as God’s Church.
Church is not just the here and now. It includes what ancient writers call ‘the great cloud of witnesses’ of past Christians. The Bible gives tantalising glimpses of what it is like to worship God. Church is about giving due worth and honour to God.
Unbreakable bonds of friendship and forgiveness
Our belief is that God is a God of Grace and acceptance rather than condemnation and rule keeping.
He has on offer to every person the gift of knowing Him and an eternal home called Heaven. Such an offer does not need rules and hoops to jump through. It does not need a degree or exam to pass or a lifestyle audit to check against.
In Christianity there are no endless rituals or empty attempts to appease an angry God. The God of Grace is perfect. He sees our imperfection yet works with us as we become more like Jesus Christ. He says ‘I love you’. Love is a much used word but it has great power to dispel bitterness.
Love is about acceptance, total commitment, challenge for change, bonds of friendshipand standing firm together.
Our belief in God is that He is Trinity. This means there are three inter-related aspects to the One God. Jesus Christ is the only Son of God. He died and rose to allow everyone to know His Father personally.
Since Jesus left us the Holy Spirit has been released for every believer to live a life of increasing awareness of God’s presence. The Spirit brings powerful gifts of God for every follower of Jesus.
We believe that the Father is in Heaven. He created all things and will, in His time, bring an end to this World. Our Father is good, forgiving and just.
Church in the community, of the community
It’s tempting to dress this up as something profound, but it isn’t. It is simply that we are made up of people from Godalming and the surrounding area; from real homes with real lives. We’re as human as anyone else. We exist here because God has invited us to represent Him in this area.
Our belief in the Bible is that it is the Word of God. The Bible has in it the most amazing story the world will ever find out. Because of this, we believe in reading the Bible, preaching from the Bible and learning about how the it can be understood today.
We recognise that the Bible does not intend to teach us everything about every aspect of our lives. Rather, it is the unchanging story of everything we need to know about God and His work.
Our belief is in the importance of people. Everyone matters to God because He created every person in this world. The World is His and we are people who He longs to see exploring who He is. We are called to care for everyone, but especially the vulnerable; older people and young children, because this is asked of us in the Bible.
Our belief is in God’s good Spiritual Gifts for today. The Bible says that since the life, death and resurrection from death of Jesus, the world is in what are called ‘the last days’. The ‘last days’ began 2,000 years ago with the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The Bible says that from that point on Christians would have dreams and visions and will be able to do amazing things. We are very careful about this. We are careful about experiencing, checking and reflecting on the actions of God’s Spirit today.