Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | February 16, 2019

The Strong Word – February 2019


Firstly a belated happy New Year to all readers of Carey News!

I suppose any New Year resolutions we made are well behind us by now! After all it is February and they reckon by the 3rd week in January most give up on their high hopes of less drink, less food and more exercise or are you one of the good ones?

It is the time of year when many consider a wider detox, a spring clean of homes and garages. I was reading of a number of people who have had an enforced “detox” over the New Year. Over 100 people lost all their possessions in a fire in a storage unit in South London.

Helen Chandler-White was one such person, when she could no longer afford her house. Helen put everything into storage, keeping just a few clothes to wear until she could get sorted. She went to live with mum and dad, but on 31st December 2018 the storage unit burnt down, everything went. Everything!

She speaks for many when she says she is totally shocked and realises how her stuff, her things, including many childhood trinkets and old school things, family heirlooms and the like, give her an identity. She feels they make up who she is. With just a few clothes to her name she has to start again. It has been traumatic. Much cannot be replaced, only a small amount of her stuff was insured, but insurance cannot bring back a memento. She says she feels less of a person.

But Scripture tells us we are worth more than our possessions, our lives are what has value to God not our “stuff” or the extent of who we are and what we own. Matthew 6 v25 tells us our life is more than the food we eat and the clothes we wear. Jesus reminds us we should not let worry and concern about such things cause us undue stress. God is our Father and he really does care for us as much as he cares for the birds of the air, do we not pray – give us this day our daily bread?

I hope as we continue our journey through 2019 we shall renew our confidence in our heavenly Father, and put our trust in him for the known and unknown cares and issues we may face. He promised:- “I am with you, even to the end of the age”, may we know that is true as we experience and know his grace and mercy in our lives and families. Perhaps we will even be able to manage with a bit less stuff too!


Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | November 3, 2018

The Strong Word – November 2018


It is November, it is 2018 – we must remember. One hundred years have passed since the War to end all Wars finally finished, after four long, difficult years for many in Europe and beyond.

Like you, I was not present 100 years ago, but I have heard stories from those who were. The TV has also been busy telling us more tales of heroism and sadness.

I may not have been present during the 1939-45 War, but again I have heard stories from parents and grandparents and seen the results of warfare. There were bombed out buildings in Birmingham right into the1960’s, and I remember in 1965 going to see the new Coventry Cathedral. Then entering into the shell of the old Cathedral and imagining the destruction that must have come upon that whole city as bombs dropped from above.

It is good the destroyed Cathedral remains for all to see and for all to remember. But I do ask myself how could this be? It was all only a few years ago, in familiar places, and from people who were our near neighbours.

The danger is when we do not remember, when we do not pass on the stories and so open the way for it to all happen again. But we must acknowledge War remains a familiar experience for many in the 21st Century and that should not be so.

Jesus always told us not to hate our brother (or sister) and to love our enemies. It is not easy we need His help to do so. We must each be channels of peace so that war remains in the past for as many people as possible in 2018.

Is this the sort of prayer we should pray?

Loving God, you sent your Son to bring your peace to the world. Help us to work for your peace in our home, our schools, our towns and our world. Protect, we ask, all who experience War and the effects of War. We pray for protection for those sent to war zones and we ask Lord that those families whose loved ones have been lost to War may know your consolation and your peace, a peace that passes understanding. We pray our prayers though Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace and who is our Lord and Saviour. Amen.


Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | October 30, 2018

Rev Brian Barker, 1931 – 2018

This tribute to Brian is published in the November 2018 edition of the Carey Newsletter and is adapted from the Minister’s tribute at the Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Rev Brian Barker, Minister at Carey from 1962 – 1970.





At Brian’s funeral recently, his son, Tim, started off the eulogy for his Dad with this famous Monty Python saying from ‘The Life of Brian’ which summed Brian up.

Whilst visiting Brian not long before his passing he was in good spirits and looking at the world in a positive light as we reminisced about the years past. It was always good to meet Brian wherever he was, at home, in hospital or in Church.

Brian is part of Carey’s history, supporting the Church right up to his passing, he was also a significant part of my teenage years at Carey. After leaving the ministry Brian led the Junior Church Senior group here at Carey. We would meet at his home in Park Avenue to discuss a variety of subjects before moving down to the Church to be part of the Morning Worship.

Brian was born in 1931 in Catford, south‑east London, second son of Gladys and Douglas Barker. At the outbreak of war he was evacuated to Reigate in Surrey.

Educated at St. Dunstan’s College in Catford (a future Bishop of Durham was the head boy when he first went there) to Matriculated (G.C.S.E.) and Higher Schools (A‑level) standard before obtaining a place at Cambridge to read Chemistry.

In 1947 Brian came in contact with a local Baptist Church and was baptised, becoming a member the next year. Brian served his National Service during which time he felt a call to enter the Ministry so in 1953 he spurned Cambridge to enter Spurgeon’s College in London.

Ordained in July 1957 and married to Jean the next day, he was called to his first Church at Stourport‑on‑Severn in Worcestershire where the birth of sons Jeremy (1959) and Timothy (1961) followed. He moved to Carey in December 1962 and was Inducted on a frosty evening in January 1963.

During 1967 came great change, his daughter Helen was born and he joined the staff of Kettering Grammar School, to teach Greek, Latin and Religious Studies, whilst maintaining a Sunday Ministry and some pastoral work during the week.

In 1970, he left the Ministry to continue his teaching but he continued to support and work for Carey, running the Junior Church class for the young people at his house in Park Avenue before all moving down to join the church for the last part of the service.


Brian retired from education and in 1989 took up a position of Secretary of the Northants Baptist Association working for Baptists in the area from his new home at Martha Wallis Court where Janet was the warden.

He had married Janet a few years earlier and they enjoyed 33 years of happy marriage.

They retired in the mid 90’s to live in Moulton and attended the Carey Baptist Church in the village but Brian continued to preach around the Association serving the 62 county churches for 7 years. He also spent a lot of time on the team Ministry at the Ecumenical project (Danesholme) in Corby.

In more recent times increasing difficulty in driving meant Brian wanted to be closer to family so they moved back to Kettering and they became members of Burton Latimer Baptist Church where he served as Moderator during their interregnum.

He struggled with mobility even more and bought a mobility scooter and was able to get to Sunday services at Carey or Rockingham Road. Preaching also became a struggle but he did preach on 5th July 2017 to celebrate 60 years since his ordination, which was quite an achievement.


Brian is now at Peace and we continue to offer support and prayers for Janet, his children and the wider family too.

A good friend, sadly missed, goodnight Brian and God Bless.

Keith Mitchell

Church Secretary



Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | October 7, 2018

The Strong Word – October 2018


Have you ever stood on the top of Rockingham Castle on the top of Rockingham Hill? (Webmaster’s note – for those from outside the wonderful county of Spires & Squires – Northamptonshire – Rockingham Castle sits on a hill overlooking the Welland Valley between Northamptonshire & Rutland) It is an incredible view! They say you can see 19 church spires on a clear day! One can see for miles. During the last 1,000 years occupants must have felt safe as they looked across the valley, seeing clearly any would be attackers.

Hills do appear to offer a security that valleys don’t have. Until quite recently, when technology has taken over, hills provided the opportunity to see further and defend easier.

But Psalm 121 reminds us, as it begins with the question:- “I look to the hills, but where does my help come from?” It then answers its own question by saying simply:-“my help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, he does not slumber nor sleep, he watches over us by night and by day….”

As we read the magazine this month one of our members, Darren Tecklenberg, is walking up the foothills of the Himalayas to Everest base Camp, situated 18,500 feet above sea level, over four times higher than Ben Nevis. He will no doubt have Everest in his view, and will be both looking up to the impressive mountain as well as down to the valleys.

We must pray he has a safe journey up and down, and that he receives a blessing from God as he discovers the Lord in the valleys as well as in the mountains. Psalm 139 reminds us that there is nowhere we can go, the highest heavens or the deepest depths, that are away from the presence of God. In recent time we realise this applies even on the Moon! While Psalm 23 reminds us that even in the valley of the shadow of death we shall fear no evil for the Lord is with us.

This is good news, whether we are walking in the Himalayas, the Scottish mountains or in the streets of Kettering, the Lord is with us. We do not need the false protection of the material strength that appears to come from worldly, human strength but we must rely, in faith, on him, who has blessed us in the past and will, if we trust in him, bless and lead us in the future.

May the Lord bless us all as we travel through the rest of 2018, wherever we are!

Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | August 4, 2018

The Strong Word – August 2018

I almost forgot to write this! It is the first August newsletter we have had at Carey since I arrived in 2005. I am told there will be one in September too, so we are doing well this year! But a lot has been happening so it is a shame if we cannot enjoy reading and seeing pictures of all our recent events. Perhaps the most memorable was the celebration of Joan Carnell’s life. She is featured in this edition in shortened version of the tributes paid to her.

It was the sheer number of people who came, (around 350) with all seats filled and 20 or so standing at the back! Where did they all park? But it was good to share in what she had done over the years, working with so many in both paid and unpaid work. She worked hard amongst us with a smile on her face and in her usual cheery way. If you were there I am sure you will also remember, especially the singing and “The Sound Sensation” choir who sang in honour of her time with them.

Joan made so many friends and she made a difference to many lives. She is in a sense a role model for us all. To use the time we have on this earth well and wisely. She was always doing something, the most recent being the coffee mornings raising monies for her charities, filling the church with her friends at the same time.

I found myself considering the story of Jesus in Matthew 25 of the servants given 5, 2 and 1 talent. The one who is criticised by Jesus is the one who buried his talent in the ground and refused to use it. He had it taken from him.

Joan certainly used her talent in life, and my question to myself is this:- How do I use the gift/talent the Lord has given me? I may not be able to sing like Joan!! But I do have something from the Lord. What is your talent or gift? How are you using it? What will be said at our funerals about our lives? The service for Joan helps us focus on such important issues and make changes while there is still time.



Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | July 1, 2018

The Strong Word – July 2018


In some senses it seems impossible that the nights are so much lighter and the days so much warmer than when we had the ‘Beast from the East’ just a few weeks ago when it was so cold and wet! I still have my coat handy just in case!

One memory that stands out is the number of people who said they loved the snow because it meant they did not have to go out and could take a more leisurely day rather than the usual rush. No one expects anything from you in the snow! We had three Sundays between 10th December and the end of March when the service was so much smaller and only those who could walk to Carey, came.

We are now entering into the summer season, the traditional holiday season. But Factory Fortnight is a thing of the past for most, when the town virtually closed down and many moved to Skeggy or Hunstanton for a week or two! Many do not take their holiday in the summer and life goes on the same. Some cannot, I know, afford to go away.

But I do encourage us all to take some time out.

The most familiar Psalm tells us:- The Lord is my Shepherd, He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside quiet waters, He restores our souls…” We do need our souls restored, do we not? We must stop. “He makes us” is a powerful verse. We must make space to do things differently, be free of duties for a while. Maybe if we are not going away to the countryside or the coast we might choose to visit another church one Sunday? Do things a bit different?

We all live 24/7 lives, never far from our phones, our work, or our church duties. These things can weigh on us, if we do not take the appropriate rest.

Perhaps you are someone who is pleased to keep the 10 Commandments, not Stealing, Killing, Coveting and the like. One of the commandments is to:- Keep the Sabbath day holy, and not to work. We may not be able to stop work on a Sunday but we must, for the sake of our mental and physical health allow ourselves one in 7 days when we do stop and life is different, duties set aside. We can do ourselves irreparable damage if we do not.

Surely we will not wait for the snow to come again before we take that much needed break? May the Lord Bless us over the summer season.


Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | June 2, 2018

The Strong Word – June 2018


I have begun doing some cooking lately, not anything fancy you understand, but I have branched out from the occasional meal, to cooking, or should I say baking cakes, in particular, Mary Berry’s Apple Cake. If eaten while still warm it is especially nice!

However, one does have to follow the recipe for the best results, not guessing the flour or butter but properly weighing out the ingredients.

I have also learnt the importance of not forgetting an ingredient! In the early days I once forgot the eggs and just could not get the mix right, what is worse I could not see why, it was nearly there but it was lacking something. Being new to cake making I thought I could remember the recipe but forgot a vital ingredient, which if I had cooked it would have led to an uneatable disaster! It remained a sorry mess, which I had to throw away because instead of eggs I added more butter!

As you would expect, I have made a comparison with our Christian faith and baking.

Christian lives need a number of ingredients, in the right measure, if they are to be as they ought to be, useful and balanced.

I believe faith is one of those essential ingredients that can easily be forgotten or used in the wrong measure so our lives do not rise, as it were, to the occasion! Reading God’s word, hearing the Lord speak, is not enough, nor is it right to just believe. We must respond in faith, to step out, to put our belief into practice. To “know” that to call on the name of the Lord, is the way to receive help.

The Bible is clear, without faith we cannot please God, nor can we be the Christian we need to be. When did I last read a promise God has made, believe it and live as though it is completely true? This means leaning on the promise, not on my own ideas, thoughts and ways. It is not easy. It takes time to learn. But, it is the only way to a good result.

For the best result with my cake, I must include all the ingredients for it to be perfect every time! I fear I can put too much of me, or the world, in my Christian life just like I put in too much butter and no eggs, and end up a sorry mess!

We must have (and use) our faith (our trust) in God!


Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | May 4, 2018

The Strong Word – May 2018


An Early Easter means an early Pentecost! This year Pentecost falls on Sunday 20th May. A few years ago, in our increasing secular nation, the Spring Bank Holiday was separated from the Whit (Pentecost) weekend, and so Pentecost is often now not on a Bank Holiday weekend. Many will not realise it is Christian festival, Pentecost 2018 will past them by.

However, I encourage you to note the article I have placed elsewhere in this magazine where the season from Ascension Day (10th May) to Pentecost (20th May) is being marked by all the Churches in Kettering following a request by the Archbishop of Canterbury to get involved in the “Thy Kingdom Come Project”. Such a project, throughout our nation, encourages cooperation between Christians and invites all Christians to be outward looking, sharing our faith and hope with those who do not know Jesus.

Christmas and Easter are important dates in the church diary, but Pentecost is when the church was truly “born”. We read the familiar passages of the Apostle Peter fifty days after the resurrection, preaching boldly in Jerusalem. This preaching is backed up by the arrival of God’s Holy Spirit amongst those early believers. It was exciting times, with many coming to faith in Jesus and the church beginning to be the Body of Christ on earth.

Peter tells the crowd that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. This is the central message of the Christian gospel. Jesus came to save us from our sin. He came to restore a broken relationship between man and God, a brokenness we have inherited in our mortal lives. Jesus can restore us to a true and deep friendship with God, and for many this is a truth difficult to accept. There must be other options, many claim – my ways and thoughts are OK! We must repent our sins, be Baptised, in the name of Jesus, receiving the gift of new life through the Holy Spirit of God.

Such a relationship with God and a certainty about our future, after this life is over, comes ONLY by faith in Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for our sin. Trusting in what he has done. Not in what we have done or may do or say. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Surely, with such a glorious truth to enjoy and share, the “Thy Kingdom Come” project 2018 will be something we want to get involved in, our faith will be strengthened and others have the chance of a faith and hope too. Why would we not want for others what we have for ourselves?


Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | April 1, 2018

The Strong Word – April 2018


The Annual General Meeting of the church took place as usual in early March. We did the annual AGM things! We voted for those willing to take on duties for the new church year, we put our Safeguarding and Health & Safety policies in place for another year, we reviewed the past and took a peak into the future!

We began the meeting with a reading from Ecclesiastes 3 where the writer observes times in the life of a person and an organisation when we either start or stop something. There is, he says, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to tear down and a time to build. It was a fitting start to a meeting where we considered the changes in the life of the church at Carey.

The past year has seen “Messy Church” begin as well as the Carey Tots become established. We have been pleased that the sadness of closure of Girls’ Brigade has brought a positive change to the Friday Boys’ Brigade evening where boys and girls now enjoy their evening together.

We also said thank you to the many who made things happen this last year. To Joy (Sergison) and Keith (Mitchell) who have spent over 20 years each as deacons and not least to Derek (Neal) who passed on his role as Church Secretary, after 27 years. Derek represents the old school for his commitment to the church and for the faithfulness with which he has done the job he felt called to for all those years.

He has presided over many changes, I realise my comment at the church meeting, as well as in this article is quite inadequate to express the gratitude of the Church for his work and commitment over that time.

We begin a new church year by celebrating Easter over the next few days, when death turned to life, when our future became guaranteed by the sacrifice of the Son of God. After our Lentern season of consideration and mourning over our spiritual state, we embrace the new life and hope we receive in Jesus.

May we open ourselves up to all that God’s spirit can do in our lives over the next year in the life of Carey church. I end with a direct quote from John 11.25 “Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die”. Do you believe this?

Well do we? Do we believe so that others know we believe, then seeing our confidence and faith in him and the gospel, they can observe how we live and what we do and also come to know and Praise God for themselves, and find the gift of God, eternal life. May the message of Easter live through us.


Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | March 4, 2018

The Strong Word – March 2018


Easter is early this year! In Kettering an early Easter used to mean Wicksteed Park opened earlier than usual, as it was always on Good Friday it opened for the summer season. But no more, it seems to me the Park opens as soon as the weather is fit to start the rides and take money!

But for many of us Easter remains an important date, indeed it is the centre of our Christian faith and the Christian year. We commemorate the last supper and the death and resurrection of Jesus often in a year, as we take communion bread and wine.

The time before Easter is when we pause to remember the cost of our sins to God, the life of Jesus. A time when we respond in thanks by repenting (turning) from those sins, trusting by faith the price of the release from sin is paid in full by the actual death of Jesus on a cross outside Jerusalem in the year AD 30. His death is for the sins we were born with, ones we inherited from our human ancestors, as well as the ones we have added into our lives ourselves by our selfish behaviour and ways.

So Easter IS good news, it is the best reason of all to stop, consider, then celebrate. Lent and Holy Week give us such a chance to prepare, as we remember the agony through which Jesus went as he walked to Jerusalem. When, in those last few hours he was beaten, abused and forced to carry his own cross on which he was killed.

We too are called to carry our cross, to walk the narrow way, to shun the wide road that leads only to the destruction of our souls.

I am always impressed by those who have a dry, alcohol free January, to improve their bodies and lives, or those who go sugar free in February to kick start a health drive or lose weight. Maybe we too can use such thoughts this Lent, to remove things from our lives that slow up the movement of God’s spirit in our hearts. You might wish to read the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4, to consider how hardness of heart, rocks, thistles and weeds can really stunt our spiritual growth.

I hope in Lent 2018, the thought of celebrating Easter at the end of March should encourage us to do something about our poor spiritual state. To kick start a mini revival, as it were, in our hearts and lives. May the Lord have mercy on us & bless us.


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