We were young. We were inexperienced. And we were excited.
We began with 20 adults when in October 2002, we started meeting as an evening congregation. We’d been praying together for about a year and were thrilled to see that God had answered our prayers to establish another church in Balham. CCB was one of the very first church plants from Dundonald Church, Wimbledon. We remain in close relationship with them through our membership of Co-Mission. As a fresh expression of contemporary Anglicanism, we were planted with the support of St Mary’s and St John’s (the local parish church) and with the permission of the Bishop of Southwark.
We met in the dining hall of Chestnut Grove School. It wasn’t glamorous. It still isn’t. But it worked. It still does, though we’ve now moved to the sports’ hall. We were Christian brothers and sisters doing something adventurous for God. We’ve worked hard to try and retain that same ambition.
In February 2005, we launched a morning meeting. It was essentially half a dozen families with pre-schoolchildren. We had no clear idea of how to grow going forward. But we had a common history, valuable friendships and a great God. And so we met together to sing his praises, express our dependence on him through prayer, listen to his word in the scriptures and encourage one another in his service. We weren’t big. We worked hard. And it was quite a stretch. But though they were tough days, we look back on them with great fondness and real appreciation of God’s kindness.
Since planting we’ve experienced modest and encouraging growth. We’re not where we’d like to be. We’d love to be bigger because there are so many more things that we’d like to be able to do as a church in Balham. But we’re not where we were. God has been good to us.
As with many churches in any area like Balham we’ve seen people move on as their jobs and families take them to new adventures and we’ve seen people move in. It doesn’t get any easier saying goodbye to old friends. But it’s terrific to welcome newcomers into the CCB church family.