In a service held on Sunday 3 June the United Reformed Church celebrated the creation of the URC’s newest congregation – Bournemouth International Church.
Bournemouth International Church has its roots in July 1998 when Joshua Han invited three Korean students into his home for a prayer meeting. Six months later the group started meeting as an International Church and, in January 2000, became known as Bournemouth International Church. Formally adopted as a mission project at General Assembly 2010, the church now has 160 regular worshippers.
The Revd Clare Downing, moderator of Wessex Synod, led Sunday’s inaugural service, during which 40 people were welcomed into membership and Joshua Han and his colleague John Bannister were ordained and inducted as elders.
The Revd Joshua Han said: “It is because of God’s grace and rich blessings that, during the past 14 years, the mission and ministry of Bournemouth International Church has flourished more than we could ever have imagined. Since that day in July 1998 when we first met we have been focussed on how we can reach the UK and the world? That’s still our major concern – and we believe that the answer is radical, but simple: re-focusing our understanding of missionary work and maximising the gifts and talents of ordinary men and women, enabling them to work for God’s glory and to make a difference wherever they are – at home, at work, at college.”
Joshua continues: “I have often been asked what makes our ministry so fruitful? I confidently say it’s because we believe we are the BEST – that’s Biblically based, Equipping centred, Stewardship oriented and Transformation aimed.”
The Revd Mark Meatcher, local URC minister and synod link person to the new church, added: “In a time when we hear of diminishing congregations and closing churches it's fantastic to have this story of a small, prayerful, group flourishing into a lively, committed and growing Church that can positively affect and enhance the community it serves. It’s good news indeed.”
The next stage in the church’s journey will take place at General Assembly next month when Bournemouth International Church will be formally received as a local church of the United Reformed Church.
Photo caption: The new church celebrates! Picture shows members of Bournemouth International Church, with the Revd Clare Downing on the left, and the Revd Mark Meatcher on the right ©Ezer Han/ Bournemouth International Church