Introduction: The Apostolic Faith Mission UK, Cranfield Church, was dedicated on Sunday 15th October 2023. Since the inception of the Apostolic Faith work in 1976 in the UK, through the efforts of the retired Rev Victor Okusanya and many of the veterans of this church, this is the fifth church that has been dedicated to the glory of God. We have our own church properties in Manchester, Birmingham and two in London (Peckham and Bexley). The Bexley Church is the headquarters of the Western Europe District. In other places, our services are held in rented facilities and these include Bristol & Cardiff, Coventry, Leicester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Paris (France), Dublin (Republic of Ireland), Germany, and Spain. The details of Cranfield Church relating to its location, accessibility, historical account of how the Apostolic Faith work in the area started and its acquisition are provided below.
Accessibility of Cranfield Church location: Cranfield Church is located a few miles from M1 Motorway Junction 13 in Bedfordshire County which borders Buckinghamshire County. Thankfully this location will allow our members in the neighbouring areas such as Milton Keynes, Luton, Dunstable, Cambridge, Oxford and Bedford to have access to a place of worship. Cranfield Church offers a huge relief for members who have been travelling to our Peckham branch or Bexley Headquarters for services. It also brings about a revival of the work that started in Aylesbury in 2013.
Brief Historical Account: The Aylesbury group sprang up in 2013 as a result of three Apostolic Faith families that live in the cities of Oxford, Aylesbury, and Milton Keynes, deciding to meet together for Sunday morning services at one of their homes, with the support of the London church. Brother Felix Panganayi was the Minister in charge assisted by Sister Miriam Panganayi. Soon the group grew, and the Sunday meetings moved to a community centre in Aylesbury. At this time, Brother Sola Omolayo was appointed Sunday school teacher and later associate minister. In January 2015 Brother Panganayi relocated to Zimbabwe, and Sister Panganayi became the Minister in Charge assisted by Brother Sola Omolayo, In August 2016, Sister Panganayi and her family relocated to London, whilst the Omolayos relocated to the United States of America. Consequently, the group had its last meeting in October of 2016 with the remaining members returning to attending church at the London branches. During that final service in Aylesbury, the Group praised the Lord for the three years of Gospel seed sowing that was done in the Oxford, Aylesbury and Milton Keynes areas and prayed for a time when the gospel would take root in those areas if the Lord tarried. Their prayers were answered through the establishment of an online bible study centre in February 2022. This was a result of several of the Peckham church saints that relocated to live in the Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, and Hertfordshire Counties. The several families faithfully and consistently attended the weekly bible studies with Brother Fungai Mangere as the Minister in Charge. The Cranfield Church will provide the long-awaited desire of having a permanent place of worship. Additionally, this church is located within a variety of communal facilities including shops, a Post Office, a Newsagent, and places of education, ideal for spreading the Gospel.
Acquisition of the Cranfield Church: The burden of long-distance travel to church every Sunday necessitated us to start praying for a physical bible study location in the catchment area. Through divine providence, our quest led us to an exceptional location in Bedford which had a fit-for-purpose church. After prayers and due diligence, the church board gave approval, and we tendered our offer with great hope. Our bid fell through to the highest bidder. In a twist of divine grace, the Estate Agent, Waldens, shared that another church property would be coming onto the market in early 2023. On January 10th, the details of this new opportunity were made available to us; a former Wesleyan Chapel dated 1880, which has been extended to the right-hand side to provide a modern kitchen and entrance lobby. The estimated time of the extensions would be in the 1970s. Overall the gross internal area is approximately 225.31 square meters (2425.2 square feet) offering a layout that comprises the following: entrance lobby, toilets, kitchen, small dining hall, large hall, vestry and sanctuary. We immediately arranged a viewing by our property specialists, including some of our board members. After the necessary consultations were held, we were happy to tender for the property, asking God for His divine will. To the glory of God, the tender was successful, and the purchase of Cranfield Church became a reality. Indeed, God’s timing is perfect, and His plans surpass our own. This journey from a bible study group to the blessed sanctuary of Cranfield Church is a testament to the unwavering power of faith and the boundless love of our Heavenly Father. Indeed, we praise God for this wonderful provision!
Click below for the Cranfield Church Dedication Report: