28 April 2010
Pastor hailed a champion after incredible church transformation
A church with a dwindling attendance has been transformed into a vibrant community centre which caters for the needs of people from all walks of life in Burton.
Pastor Kevin Ward, who initiated the facelift at Burton Baptist Church, has been nominated for a "community champion" award for the second year running, for his role in the change.
Pastor Ward joined his congregation when the centre was in enormous difficulties and on the brink of closure. Along with his wife Angie and a few volunteers, they made some radical changes and transformed the centre into a modern and practical place of worship which is more relevant to everyday life.
Along with a change of name, they introduced activities including a parent and toddler group, a coffee shop, a homeless shelter and a youth club. The idea is to break the mould from traditional church and breathe new life into the centre.
Pastor Kevin Ward said: "I believe that God loves Burton and he has different ways of showing that love. We are open to everyone and the café in particular provides a place for people to just come and sit and if they need someone to talk to we're there for them."
He is also taking his church to another level by moving the congregation to a 1000 seat building which opens seven days a week.
Given the achievements of the pastoral team of Burton Baptist church, Barry Martin one of the church members has nominated Pastor Ward for the community champion award launched by the Derby Evening Telegraph, BBC Radio Derby, Derbyshire Building society, Derby City Council and Derby county football club.
Barry told the Derby Evening Telegraph: "From a congregation of just five when he arrived, Kev has increased the numbers to more than 50 in just a year with his single-minded drive. This is all on top of giving the most inspiring, relevant and entertaining services I've heard in 53 years of church-going."
The community champion award is about recognising members of the community for their work and the impact of what they are doing, and the nomination is done by individuals in the community.