My Name is Valerie Baldwin and I am a member of the Word of Life Wesleyan Reform Union Church in Ashington, together with my husband Graham, we are experiencing the beautiful graciousness of God.
I was born into a loving Christian family, and surrounded by aunts and uncles. My Grandfather and my Father were Methodist lay preachers. I remember as a child looking up to my Father when he was preaching and feeling very proud. I attended our local church, in the Sunday school and was tutored in the Scripture Union exams. I have known Jesus all my life from being a little girl. I got married at the age of 22 to a Navy Officer who was away at sea for six months of each year. Just before the wedding, my father advised me not to marry this man, but I ignored his advice. After 10 years and much heartache, where I experienced mental cruelty and a loveless marriage, we divorced.
As I look back on this period of my life, as a child, I was protected from worldly things and was quite ignorant of the evil that was around. In fact I was the Prodigal daughter and wanted to taste the things that the world had to offer, so I became quite rebellious and left the church. When my ex husband and I divorced and sold the house, the lady who came to view the house and subsequently bought it told me of Jesus and His love for me. Well my heart jumped and leapt, as she was talking about the Jesus I knew as a child. I went with her to the church and cried the whole service through and at this point I was born again. The people all helped me move and I got baptised at this church.
During this time of struggle, feeling lonely and searching for love and comfort, I had an affair with a married man, which ended up with me becoming pregnant with his baby. I told my parents, who were shocked but were prepared to support me. I was devastated, I stopped going to church, as I knew I was an adulterer, but most of all I was upsetting my relationship with Jesus, yet I still continued in my sinful way. I was told that the church never stopped praying for me and one or two of them called to see if I was ok.
Then one day I suffered a miscarriage and had to have a D & C operation, but the porter who took me down to the operating theatre was a member of my church! How the Lord is always with us is a miracle, his footsteps are beside us all the time whatever we do and wherever we are. I repented and renewed my life in Jesus and His church.
This was 35 years ago and now, as I was asked to write my testimony, I feel very ashamed and humbled to remember these events, indeed I have never put them down on paper, as I find them painful because I knew the love and peace of Jesus but gave it up for my sinful nature. As time went by I felt the love and forgiveness from my friends and from God and I dared to pray for my heart’s desire, which was “for a Christian husband please and, if possible a baby Lord”. God answered in his gift to me of my lovely Graham and at the age of 41 and 43 had 2 beautiful children, my son James and daughter Katie.
Prior to this happening, I had come to the decision to put God first in my life and leave my special prayer in His hands. This was Christmas 1985, and I had already met Graham but did not realise the significance of this meeting. We met again at a New Year party, but still no special interest until one evening after he had introduced me to his parents, it was literally like the curtain was raised before my eyes and I knew I was falling in love with this gentle loving man in front of me. I think Graham would admit to the same thing was happening to him.
Soon after that Graham proposed to me on Valentine’s day 14th February 1986 and we got married on the 30th of August 1986 and by November James was on the way! Then in July 1989 Katie arrived which was my bonus gift from God.
Eight years ago in March 2009 Graham and I moved from Watford, Hertfordshire to Hadston in Northumberland. It was an essential move as Graham had been struggling with his insurance job and he could just not face going to work anymore. We had previously been to Bellingham on holiday and loved the area. We took a trip to Barters Books in Alnwick and proceeded to Druridge Bay for lunch, and when we looked at the beach, it took our breath away. Little did we know that in 2009 we would be living here permanently and we have loved it ever since.
Moving so far away from our friends and church was quite an adventure. We knew that we would need some income, but how? God’s provision was amazing. We became friends with a couple who owned a shop in Amble selling a beautiful skincare range and as this was my area of expertise, we came to a good business arrangement, which provided income for us until we received our pension. It is also wonderful that Beverly and Philip are good friends of ours to this day.
Life is not always easy and I have at times, been angry, rebellious and questioning. God has put me through the fire of refinement using various situations. More recently I attended another church and felt “controlled” and not free to be me, it was if God had tied me up for a while, but just at the right time God released us into the Word of Life WRU Church in Ashington, where, at last I have a purpose and where God can wholly use me.
Even whilst writing this testimony, I have been so convicted regarding my own self-righteousness, judgement and proud attitudes for which I have no right at all to contain. For God in His grace and forgiveness has made me what I am, and still doing. He has blessed, protected and provided for me all of my life and all I have shown Him is complacency and pride with some prayer thrown in. He has walled with me and loved me and I have taken it all, so now is the time for me to surrender completely all of my life to Jesus and I will
Our new Women of Action group commenced in January of this year. Aiming for the women of the church to build each other up spiritually and to reachout into the community around us to ensure that the Gospel message is heard and understood. The group is facilitated by Sue Farr and the meetings are held monthly, generally on the last friday of the month with a few exceptions.
We are holding a Good Friday Service at our Church commencing from 11:00am till 1:00pm, this is for the free churches in Ashington. Hot drinks will be served prior to the start of the meeting. Worship and the Word will then be delivered.
We held a Nigerian Evening in the Church on Saturday the 17th of February. A wonderful night of Nigerian Worship, Culture, food and fellowship was had by all, led by the Akinsola Family. Pictures below.
Our Friday Diner at church is on the last Friday of every month from 12:00 till 2:00pm. Soup and sandwiches and a range of other hot meals will be available for each of the coming months. This is an outreach for those who may be lonely, or who maybe are just in need of company. There is no charge for the food but donations are welcomed.
The Lent Services this year will be our own in the church for six weeks starting from Thursday the 15th of February, from 6 till 7. We will be focussing upon the Beattitudes for the six week period. Rev Michael Hedley and Pastor Ayodeji Akinsola will be sharing the teaching over these six weeks.
The ordination service of Rev Michael Hedley took place on Saturday the 25th of November 2017. It was led by Phil Hartshorn the WRU President of 2017/18, with input from Rev Ian Fall chair of the ministerial committee. It was a wonderful day for all concerned. A very special privelege that this service was delivered in our home church and not as it is usually done at conference. Thanks to all who participated and a heartfelt thanks for the wonderful gifts that you have given us both
Reverend Michael & Lindsey Hedley.
We welcome back once again our great friend and brother in Christ Pastor Ayodeji Akimsola as he went back to Nigeria to minister at his home Church, the Charis Family International Church in Basorun. He has now returned to the UK to our church and it is lovely to see him again. We are planning a Nigerian worship, food and fellowship night on the 17th of February.
Once again this year it was a great priviledge for our rapidly growing Church Family to witness yet another baptism. Gordon gave his life to Jesus in July earlier this year and he went through the waters of baptism at Bedlington Trinity Church. A fantastic time was had by all and we truly rejoice that his life is now heading in a new Holy Spirit filled direction.
We have commenced a new Parent Toddler Group in the church in Ashington starting on Thursday 5th October The Tiny Rainbows Toddler Group is held on every Thursday morning apart from School holidays from 10:30 - 12:00.
We held a Baptism Service on Saturday May 27th at Bedlington Trinity Church for Caroline Taylor who joined our fellowship earlier this year. We had a wonderful time in God's presence and the service went so well. Pictures of the event are below this text.
The property adjacent to our church number 73 North Seaton Road which is currently a dwelling house and in need of refurbishment can now be utilised as The Word of Life Mission House.
Work will begin soon to refurbish the building ready for it to be used for our outreach programmes.
Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday and forever
This is not just breaking news, it is the news from yesterday, today and tomorrow and guess what? It is forever. Hallelujah!!!!!
Contact us at:
Word of Life Church
Wesleyan Reform Union
North Seaton Road, Ashington Northumberland NE63 0AG
Tel: 01670 814425
Mobile 07879253072 Michael
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Our new range of Christian Greetings Cards and encouragement scripture cards are now available to purchase from us on this website and also in church
Check here for visiting guest speakers in the coming weeks and months