This is the most important thing for us. It is because of His great love that we are motivated to respond by loving Him back, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
Deut. 6:4-9, Matthew 22: 37-40
God’s love for people is clearly revealed through the sacrificial life of Jesus Christ. We seek to love people as Christ first loved us.
Matthew 22:37-40, John 3:16
As we are being challenged and changed by the message of Jesus, we are lovingly encouraging others to follow Jesus and join His mission.
A DISCIPLE is a follower of Jesus who is centring his/her life on loving God and loving others.
Our DISCIPLESHIP PATHWAY is the Intentional Disciplines we practice as we study, learn, pray and do. It’s our Intentional Transformation… It’s how we grow and strengthen our belief in Christ, and follow him more nearly as we act out our love for God and love for others.
Our DISCIPLESHIP PATHWAY encourages all...
● To connect and grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ
● To be transformed by studying the Bible and the principles of the Christian faith
● To connect with other believers for support and accountability
● To be in service to others for the purpose of the mission and vision
We long to make Jesus Christ our greatest hope and boast, our deepest longing and delight, and our most passionate song and message.
We never outgrow our need for the gospel because it not only saves us, but also transforms us through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
As Christians, we are empowered to love others as Christ has first loved us using our God given gifts.
We are a church family that meets in various small and large settings to care for one another as we encourage each other forward in our shared mission.
We commit to be and to develop faithful followers of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit to Love God, Love People & Make Disciples.
Way back when...
In the Bible, Bethany was a village where Jesus' closest friends lived. That pretty much sums up what we want to be - friends and followers of Jesus Christ working in the heart of the community around Houghton le Spring.
Bethany Christian Centre is a meeting place for people who love and desire to serve the living God, and for those who are seeking to find out about the Christian faith.
The church has been in the town for over one hundred years, occupying different buildings, but standing for the same historic Christian faith throughout that time.
Since the opening of the current centre in November 1997 our congregation and range of activities have grown, but our commitment to the life-giving message of Jesus has not changed.
Meet the Team
I was born in Virginia and relocated to Louisiana where I lived the formative years of my life. When I was eight years old, I recognized my sinfulness and need for forgiveness and trusted Christ in response to the Gospel message. I remember being so overwhelmed by what I had done, that I cried in the pew and instantly told my brother beside me what happened.
My early years in the faith could be described as external conformity with internal disinterest. My Christian walk consisted of rather superficial and sporadic obedience to maintain a status quo and stay in my mom’s good graces. It was not until my University years that I began to mature into a more committed follower of Christ. Through the ministry of my local church, I gained a deeper understanding of God’s mercy and grace which revitalized my walk with Christ. It was this personal spiritual formation that God used to confirm His calling to a lifetime involvement in the local church. I went theological school at Dallas Theological Seminary and graduated with a Master of Theology.
I am married to my best friend, Candice, and we have 4 wonderful children who keep us laughing (and praying!): Jonah, Camden, Cohen and Julep. I enjoy playing almost any sport, especially basketball. A favorite pursuit of mine is reading books that stimulate my thinking, strengthen my teaching, and deepen my love for God. We love to travel as a family to experience cultures different from our own (and are thrilled to be living in North East England!). Always one for a good conversation, I love building relationships with family and friends over a good meal or a nice warm cuppa.
My wife Sheila and I joined the church at Bethany in 2007 and willingly serve the Lord in whatever way He asks of us. Prior to retiring at a young age (!) my career in the Fire Service gave me a real insight into many of the challenges of life, and left me with gifts that I now have the chance to use in God’s Church. I have a passion for making sure that the Church’s future is secured and that we have men and women growing and developing as leaders for the years ahead, and I welcome the opportunity to support people in their journey with God. I also enjoy the opportunity to be a supporting part of the technical team, bringing the songs, music and preaching that we offer up each Sunday as we worship God.
Isla and I came to Bethany in 1993 when we arrived from N. Ireland and it has been our spiritual home and family in Christ ever since. I became a Christian in my teens (not exactly sure when) having been convinced that the resurrection of Jesus actually happened. My early life of faith was insecure, largely the result of a lack of balanced teaching. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to a few older men and women who were used by God to mentor me and to the Holy Spirit who stimulated me to read and study the Bible.
Over the years since I (and then with Isla and our two children) have stepped out into the unknown in faith, resulting in a short period in India with the Leprosy Mission, a difficult year in Cape Town where we were richly spiritually blessed and then our relocation to the North East. Here, through contacts in Bethany, we have had a long association with Kalene Mission Hospital in Zambia to where we were commended by Bethany in 2000. In all of this we, and our children who are now grown and independent, have been enormously blessed.
Our season at Kalene has come to a natural conclusion, this coinciding with the invitation of the Elders at Bethany to join them. In this new role it is my desire to help the next generation of my family in Christ as I was helped all those years ago.
My wife, Julia, with children, Jonathan and Emily and I joined Bethany in 2001, having moved to the area with work. We have served in the church in various areas since then. I was brought up in a christian home, attending Fernielea Gospel Hall, Aberdeen, where my father has been an elder since 1966. I trusted God for my salvation in 1971, and was later baptised and became a member there in 1981. I married Julia, who is from Northern Ireland , in 1996, before we moved to Edinburgh in 1999, on the way south.
I have been involved in many areas of Christian service in the last 37 years. Such as Sunday School, Childrens meetings, Youth Camps, Youth Work, Preaching, Teaching, Outdoor evangelism, Overseas Missions, Distribution of Scriptures with the Gideons, House Groups.
My desire for this church is to not only have a profound knowledge of the scriptures but to also have the wisdom to put it into practice in our lives. While depending on the help of the Holy Spirit working in us, to make us more like Christ. We are looking for workers to serve God and not give up, not just people to fill the seats on a Sunday. Although we all have to start somewhere !
My wife Debby and I joined Bethany in 2007 and have been an active part of the church family ever since.
I became a Christian during my school years at the age of 17, went off to university in Manchester and returned to the North East having married my soulmate Debby. We have been blessed with three children and one grandchild.
Having a passion for evangelism, I have been an active part of many missions both at home and abroad, including former Soviet Union, mainly as part of a music and worship team. I have had the privilege of seeing many people come to know Christ as their Lord and Saviour over the years. Within church I have been involved in worship ministry having led sound technicians, worship teams and choirs. It has been a joy to see people grow in their gifting throughout this time.
During the past 30 years or so I have had the opportunity to work with many churches and Christian charities throughout the UK as part of my job as a risk management consultant.
In these times, I would seek to pass on my experience to younger generations and encourage people to seek an ever-deeper relationship with God and to share their faith with those in Houghton and beyond.
Eileen and I have been members at Bethany Church since 2003 and have enjoyed being of service in quite a number of ministries in that time.
As well as running Alpha, Christianity Explored and Discipleship Explored courses, I have led a number of Bible study groups and even been on a Beach Mission with some of the church young people. I help out with the CAP work at Bethany, particularly the Coffee Drop Bible study, and am a member of the Prayer Ministry team.
Over the last few years I have been increasingly challenged that our growth in maturity in Christ is more than just being busy ‘doing things’ but in knowing Him, following Him and abiding in Him. To this end I have the privilege of encouraging and challenging other disciples in their Christian walk into mature men and women for the Kingdom of God.