Walk in any direction from Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church and you will find lots of famous and fascinating places.
Bloomsbury has a rich and varied history, a heart for justice, and a passion for speaking prophetically and politically to the city. We challenge culture both within the secular world and the wider church. Click here to see the whole story.
North is the British Museum and the squares of Bloomsbury.
West is Oxford Street,
Soho and the West End.
East is Holborn
and Lincoln’s Inn.
South is Theatreland, Covent Garden and the cinemas of Leicester Square.
We are a Baptist church in the heart of London's West End, and we seek to live out the example of Jesus Christ for the good of our city and the wider world. We believe that every person is valued by God and can make a contribution to the life of their community.
As a gathered Christian congregation, we offer:
An activist Spirit
We practice the presence of God.
We are a church where faith takes shape in political action and practical service.
We take inspiration from our long history of nonconformity to help us live courageously today.
We are a place of transformation.
We work together to meet immediate needs.
We care for the vulnerable and homeless.
We are concerned for all people.
We make every effort to live in unity.
We are not afraid to speak out and take action on issues of politics, justice, and peace.
A prophetic voice
We believe that God is love.
We are a place of hope.
We are a place of inclusivity and openness.
We embrace intelligent, liberal, open theology.
We value thoughtful preaching, honest teaching, and reverent worship.
We believe that everybody is in the image of God
We value a variety of voices and opinions.
We are deeply radical and non-conformist.
A heart in the centre of the city
We believe that God’s people are called to live in love.
We offer open hearted friendship and acceptance.
We are a place of welcome.
We value sincerity and integrity, and doubting is welcomed not condemned.
We embrace diversity, and welcome people regardless of ethnicity, sexuality, gender, or social standing.
We are careful to listen to one another
We care for one another.
We share food together regularly, extending hospitality and openness to all.
Starting life as a Christian.
We believe that people come on all sorts of paths towards the life of a disciple. What we believe is important is not how people get to that point, but that being a disciple matters. A disciple is a person who takes following Jesus seriously and commits themselves to do doing it. Discipleship will take all kinds of shapes, but at the centre of it always is knowing Jesus as Lord, and trusting ourselves to the love that is his message.
Becoming a disciple involves changes – turning life around to go in a different direction. That’s why the word “conversion” is sometimes used. It refers to this change.
We believe that the change comes first from God’s action in our lives; he has loved us from before all time, and his love for us keeps us in being. In love, he has reached out to us in Jesus, and in Jesus’ ministry, life, death, and resurrection he offers us a new way of life and the promise of transformation.
These differences affect all of life. Jesus describes the life of a disciple as loving God with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength.
Our heart is the aspect of our self which is our deepest identity; what makes us as individuals. Loving God with all our hearts is not just a warm woolly feeling, but the deepest of commitments, and the rooting of our identity in Jesus, and not in ourselves.
Our mind is our capacity to think and reason. Being a follower of Jesus means having some understanding of the content of the Christian faith – knowing what it is that the Church teaches and that Christians believe. We know that complete understanding of the ways of God is beyond any of us, since we are finite and God is not, but learning about the faith, and giving our assent to it is part of living as a disciple.
Our soul is the part of ourselves that is reaching out and beyond and seeking meaning and purpose in life. To offer this in our discipleship is to submit our wills and ambitions to the purposes of God as revealed in Jesus.
Our strength is our energy and intention – the things we do. Giving this over in discipleship is committing how we live, our values and practices to Jesus’ leading.
Those who are disciples make no claims to getting it all right. Indeed, it is often because we know that we get it wrong so often and so badly that we know we need to live trusting in God‘s love. Our own strength and abilities are not enough to make us the people we want to be, or need to be to follow Jesus successfully. Fortunately, it is not success that is important. What is important is trusting in God’s love, and giving ourselves over to following Jesus.
Baptism and membership
As Baptists, we invite those who want to be closely associated with our church to become members. Membership is an expression of commitment both to following Jesus and to doing so as part of the community of people of God meeting here.
For those who come newly to faith, we have the practice of baptism. Baptism has always been the way of becoming part of the church. One of the distinctives of Baptist identity is that we reserve baptism for those who express their own faith and their desire to make the commitment of discipleship.
We practise baptism by total immersion, usually during the morning service. If you would like to explore baptism further please contact one of the ministers.
For those who have been baptised as infants, or who are joining through transfer from another Baptist church, membership is expressed through a reaffirmation of faith. Somebody joining the church is invited to stand up during the service and asked to reaffirm their Christian faith and commitment. They are then welcomed into membership with prayers.
Our church operates as a congregationally governed church; that is, the final authority under Christ for any decision about the life and mission of the church is the responsibility of the Church Meeting, a gathering which is made up of all those who are members. At Bloomsbury, our Church Meeting happens quarterly.
Members are also asked to think carefully about their giving to the church. We don’t believe that, as a church, we have the right to tell people how much they should give to the life and witness of the church, but we do ask members to take their support seriously.
Members are involved in other ways too – and most of those ways are also open to those who want to be part of our congregation on a less formal level. We are always grateful to those who offer time, energy, skills and talents for the varied undertakings of the church.
FRIENDS AND PARTNERS
Ecumenically, our ministers are active in Churches Together in Westminster. We are also part of the West London chapter of Citizens UK, and have become a 'London Living Wage' Church through these networks.
We work in partnership with Ekklesia, a Christian, political think tank and news service. We are also part of a network of baptist minsters who are speaking out against LGBT+ injustice in the Baptist Union.
We play an active part in the Camden Communities partnerships, which draw together faith leaders across Camden, and the Camden Cohesion Impact Group. We have a special relationship with the local 'Dragon Hall' community centre.
Bloomsbury sends representatives to British Museum community events, Central Saint Giles and Crossrail liaison meetings.
Bloomsbury is a member church of the London Baptist Association (whose offices are in our building), the Baptist Union of Great Britain, and an associate member church of the Baptist World Alliance. We support Baptist World Mission, partnering with the Dupree family currently on mission in Albania.
The church supports the work of Christian Aid and is a registered Fairtrade church. We are also part of Kairos Britain.