We believe that all Spirit-filled Christians should be allowed to contribute appropriately when we meet together for worship and ministry on a Sunday morning. This may include prayer, asking for a song/hymn, sharing a testimony of something God has done, or sharing a particular truth that God has been speaking to them about.
This does not, of course, mean that anybody can do anything they want in the meeting. One of the elders will always be leading the meeting and we would expect everybody present to respect their responsibility and oversight in that context.
We believe that Biblically-based teaching preaching and teaching are one of the key components of church life. Consequently, most Sunday morning meetings will include a time of preaching.
We would normally focus the half hour of our Sunday meeting to children and younger people who may be present, who will then go to an age-appropriate Sunday school class (although they are welcome to stay in the meeting if they wish!).
Our ‘Doctrinal Basis of Belief’ defines the fundamental biblical truths that we adhere to.
- The divine inspiration and infallibility of the Holy Scriptures (the Bible) as originally given and their final authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
- The unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the Godhead.
- The universal sinfulness and guilt of human nature since the Fall, rendering mankind subject to God’s judgement and condemnation.
- The redemption from the guilt, penalty and power of sin only through the sacrificial death (as our representative and substitute) of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God.
- The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
- The necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit to make the death of Christ effective in the individual sinner, granting him or her repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ.
- The indwelling and work of the Holy Spirit in the Believer.
- The expectation of the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are an Elder-led church and do not have a full-time Pastor or Minister. The Elders have the final spiritual responsibility for, and oversight of the church, but are also accountable and answerable to the church as a whole. Most major decisions concerning the church are discussed and agreed at regular business meetings that all church members are encouraged to attend and participate in.
We are registered charitable trust (Bramhall Christian Fellowship Trust, Reg No. 1021064). The current Trustees are, Ian Afflick, Gillian Demidoff, Janet Ince and Kevin Northrop.
Bramhall Christian Fellowship is a member of Churches Together in Bramhall and Woodford.
Unlike many churches, we do not have a formal ‘membership’ list that people can sign-up to or be accepted into. Only God can truly add people into His Church, and we believe the same is true for our small, local expression of the church.
The very beginnings of Bramhall Christian Fellowship can be traced back to 1974, when Alan England, one of the leaders at Victoria Park Fellowship in Manchester developed contacts in the area through a church in New Mils where he had been to preach. As a result, a number of people started travelling to Victoria Park on Sundays and eventually mid-week meetings for this group of people were started in a village south of Manchester called Mellor. These meetings subsequently moved to nearby New Mills and, then as the group grew, to Bramhall.
The meetings in Bramhall were initially only intended to be mid-week house group meetings that were an extension of the church in Victoria Park, but during a time of prayer and fasting at the end of 1982 God told Alan that he and his family should move to Bramhall and establish a proper Fellowship house church there. This seemed impossible; they were living in Longsight in inner-city Manchester and certainly couldn’t afford a house in Bramhall. Nonetheless the others in the Bramhall group embraced this vision and shortly after a bank account was opened in the name of Bramhall Christian Fellowship.
No. 67 – God’s Provision
The Englands put their house in Longsight up for sale, and over the next three years the house was sold five times, only for the sale to fall through before until at the sixth it was sold to a man who was only interested in using the garden to grow dahlias! In that three-year period the group were making considerable sacrifices and selling jewellery and other personal property to raise money, but even this couldn’t possibly raise enough to buy a suitable property in Bramhall. But, of course the God of miracles provided in many unforeseen ways. Other Christians donated saying that whilst praying they believed that the Lord had told them to give some of their possessions to be sold and the monies given to BCF. There were large anonymous gifts of cash posted through letterboxes and monies passed on from sources that are unknown even to the present day. A Christian widow who heard about us passed over her engagement ring for us to sell. An anonymous retired high-ranking police officer wanted to sell some of his furniture and give it to ‘a Christian work’ – Bramhall Christian Fellowship was suggested by a third party. The furniture, many items of which were antiques, was auctioned and yielded so much money that we offered, via the third party to return the money as we were sure he must have not realised how much the goods were worth. The message came back, ‘keep it for what you are doing’ We never met this man and never knew his name.
Then the group started to look around for properties and number.67 Bramhall Lane South came to out attention, but initially we dismissed the idea because although we had raised a substantial amount, the asking price of £104,000 seemed far out of our reach.
However, during one of the groups regular times of prayer and fasting God gave a prophecy saying,
“I will show you the house, two or three will also be going for it, but I will give it to you. And I will tell you how much you should offer for it.”
We became sure that No 67 was the right property. Each member of the group prayed and asked God what to offer for the house; all 20 people in the group at that time independently came up with a figure within £500 of £87,000, so that is what we offered Two other parties subsequently showed interest in the house and our offer stayed on the table. We waited for the third person to arise and sure enough they did, with a cash offer £500 above ours. Nonetheless, we felt we should stay with the amount God had said, even though it looked like we would lose the house. However, the owner decided that as we’d been honest with him, he would accept our offer. Unbelievably, the house was ours and BCF had a home.
Then the hard work started. The building had been empty for nine months and needed a lot of renovation. Again we had no money but God always provided just what was needed. For example, one day a letter came from a lady in Manchester who we didn’t know. She had received money from an insurance policy and asked God what to do with it – He told her to give it to us and that provided the money we desperately needed for a new boiler.
People we knew with building and plumbing skills gave their time for free and we had work parties all day every Saturday and on Wednesday evenings. If we didn’t have a skill then someone would go off and learn it.
Walls were knocked down, chimneys removed, doors stripped and varnished, the house painted, re-plumbed and rewired, the driveway restored, and the whole inside stripped, repaired and redecorated. The kitchen was completely stripped back to bare brick before being re-plastered and refitted. Finally, in January 1986 we were ready to have our first public meeting as Bramhall Christian Fellowship.