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 first registered wedding service took place in the church on October the 12th 2018. The Couple Ian Sidney Wales married Linda Airey. Linda has attended our coffee mornings for over two years, and Sid has known Michael for many years.
The couple were pronounced man and wife after a beautiful service delivered by Rev Michael Hedley, the signing of the registars was overseen by Lindsey who is the appointed person for wedding services for the church. The wedding was attended by family and friends and they then had a function at the White House Club following the service. We wish them all of God's blessing and favour upon their marriage. Photographs of the service are below.
We held an Ashington Churches Together Harvest Supper in the Church on the 15th of October where £73.00 was raised for the local Wansbeck Food Bank.
The evening began with prayer, Psalm 65 verses 6 - 11 which talks about God supplying everything that we need in order that we can have a harvest
A local folk group called the "Canny Lads" were the entertainment for the night, along with a wonderful variety of food, and drinks. The evening closed with all 53 of us singing How Great is our God, and Rev Michael closing in prayer. Phoyographs of the event are below:
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
The answer to the question posed by the Apostle Paul here is that even though we are battered by the world system with trials, with problems seemingly of great magnitude. Nothing absolutely nothing shall separate us from Christ Jesus. He is with us through the midst of our troubles. So never let anyone tell you that your prayer life or your Christian walk isnt right because you've got a few problems. Jesus still and always will love you.
Our Mission House, of 73 North Seaton Road, the annexe to the church has now been completed.
We are using the building for a variety of things such as a Christian retreat, where specific programmes can be tailored for each group of people staying. Examples of the type of programmes we will be delivering, will be Leading Worship, Prayer, and a wide range of other Christian Programmes.
While staying here visitors can use it to be simply a place of rest, meditation and prayer, or take part in the church programmes, or take part in a specially designed retreat bespoke programme.
We will also be using the venue for Debt Management, helping those in need, as well as music lessons, job searching and basic IT programmes.
We are very excited about this development, and if you require any further information, please contact us either by email or by telephone on 07879253072 or 07854 820012. The cost for staying here is £30.00 per night. Donations are also welcome.
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. All donations from this monthly event go to Arab World Ministries Yemen
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.
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
Or use our online contact form.