Church Profile


Profile of Victoria Baptist Church


Eastbourne is a coastal town right at the edge of the South Downs National Park. It has a growing population of about 100,000 and people are drawn to the town for a variety of reasons. The town hosts a significant holiday population during spring, summer and autumn. The image of Eastbourne being a place populated largely by the elderly and retired is no longer true as the local authority have taken active steps to encourage industry and commerce in the locality. It is increasingly the area of choice for young families to live. The schooling is sought after by families in the area. The district hospital is located to the north of the town. Brighton University has a campus in the town and one of the largest FE colleges is situated here. In contrast to its projected image Eastbourne is also a town which suffers many of the social problems that comparable areas experience with patches of deep poverty and social deprivation. The work of charities, many of which have a Christian base, is highly valued.

Victoria Baptist Church (VBC)

We are a diverse Church with current membership standing at 376. We see ourselves as a broad church and our membership contains a full spectrum of ages and backgrounds. Our age profile reflects the changing demographic spread of the locality. We are becoming increasingly international but retain a strong sense of unity. Sunday morning congregations total about 450, we actively seek to be friendly and welcoming. We are geographically well situated north of the town centre with a superb suite of facilities on our Church site that we use extensively for a range of activities. We belong to the Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) and the South Eastern Baptist Association and therefore subscribe to the Baptist Union's declaration of principle. We practice believers' baptism and have an open membership. We actively engage with other churches through Churches Together For Eastbourne and seek to forge links with our community, particularly schools, town events and the elderly. Many members are engaged with activities within the town including street pastors, food bank, night shelter and chaplaincies.

Core Values

Although our membership comprises a broad spectrum of evangelical Christians we share essential core values through our common experience of conversion to Christ and discipleship.

We express our spiritual identity through our core beliefs set out in the VBC Trust's Governing Document and the evangelical interpretation of them its original writers intended. The introduction to them includes - 'We accept the revelation of the Triune God, given in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and confess the historic faith of the Gospel as set out in them' and 'We here assert the doctrines which we regard as crucial to the understanding of the Faith and which should issue in mutual love, practical Christian service and evangelical concern.' The third belief specified is 'The divine inspiration of the Holy Scripture and its consequent entire trustworthiness and supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.'

We believe in the absolute necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit in all his fullness in our lives and seek under him to provide a nourishing spiritual diet of relevant practical Bible preaching and worship.

Some of our core values are:

  • discipleship - our overriding goal is to be transformed to Jesus likeness and model our lives, personally and publicly, on his.

  • the word and the Spirit - we believe the anointing of the Holy Spirit and careful reason are essential for effective biblical teaching

  • worship - to craft relevant worship in a contemporary style as part of our church's identity.

  • the un-churched - to create space for the un-churched to hear and respond to Christ's message as integral to our ministry

  • the powerless - to initiate and support projects that help people deprived of choice

  • mission - we are committed to mission worldwide


The church is led by the Senior Minister, Core Leadership Team (CLT), Trustees and other voluntary ministry leaders. There are at least four church members' meetings each year. It is the responsibility of the senior minister and CLT to oversee all church administration, operations, and ministry. The members are highly supportive of the leadership and there is a sense of unity under Christ.

The current staff team consists of

  • Rev Dr Ian White (Senior Minister),

  • Emma McPhail (Assistant Minister)

  • Fiona Revell (Children and Families Worker)

  • Erik Cornelisse (Youth Worker)

  • Margaret Greenwood (Assistant Office Manager)

  • Colin McMahon (IT and Finance Assistant)

  • Kevin Virgo (Caretaker)

We encourage others by supporting the huge team of volunteers, many of whom have responsibility for areas of ministry and by Ministers in Training. We endeavour to be inclusive and encourage everyone to be involved in serving.


Our vision is to develop the areas of our present outreach and ministry and initiate structures that facilitate spiritual growth. Our purpose is 'to bring about the spiritual transformation of people so they become fully committed followers of Jesus Christ.'


This is the process by which our purpose is brought into reality. We aim to provide relevant ministry for people at each stage of their spiritual walk, from first time enquirers to mature believers. We encourage members to see their relationships with the un-churched as evangelistic opportunities and we run basics courses (e.g. Christianity Explored and Alpha) for addressing enquirers' questions. We seek to equip believers on how to share Christ. Our Sunday services, small groups and other organisations exist to feed established believers with a regular diet of worship and ministry. We believe that in the gathered church we equip people for being Christ's ambassadors when the church scatters.

We offer a range of service styles recognizing the diverse desires of our congregation. We value and strive for authentic worship, strong biblical teaching and heartfelt prayer. We are blessed with many leaders of these ministries from within the membership.

Regular church activities

Children's and young people's work

This is a major area of our ministry with over 100 children and young people. It runs alongside Sunday morning worship and provides appropriate teaching and social activities. A weekly Kids Club attracts children from within and outside the church. Weekly kids football team. Holiday clubs, camps and links with the community are also high priorities. We also run Boys' and Girls' Brigade groups. Vicky Bees is a thriving group for parents and carers of babies and toddlers which includes both specifically Christian and general interest input . A more recent offshoot of this group has been a study group for parents and carers.

Small groups

Small groups form the back bone of VBC (28 groups serving 300 people), meet mid-week, mostly fortnightly, to complement Sunday ministry and provide a place of belonging that is more personal than a Sunday service can ever be. They also provide mutual support and pastoral care. Support for the more challenging situations is provided by the coordinated Pastoral Team.


We know that our personal and church prayer life is essential to our spiritual wellbeing. The ministry of prayer is well structured and has been growing in profile and commitment in recent months and many opportunities are provided to underpin other aspects of church life and to stimulate us to practice what we profess. An active church prayer team provides ministry after Sunday services as well as prayer support to individuals and alongside regular activities during the week.

VBC events team

'VBC events' is a team who regularly have a high profile in providing logistics for local events. Their presence at the carnival and other town activities is a great witness and forges important links with the community.

Other church activities include

  • weekly women's and men's meetings

  • CAMEO for retired people

  • Flow Cafe (a monthly Saturday morning event where the church is open to the community with a wide range of activities available, refreshments and opportunity just to chat)

  • Soaking in the Spirit meets monthly for women

  • Social events are organized by a team throughout the year and in July 2017 a church weekend away took place. This was so successful that a repeat has been booked for June 2018.

Mission and Evangelism

The church has commissioned two missionary couples, one couple working in Africa and another in Nepal who are well supported pastorally, financially and in prayer by the church. Beyond this we support a number of missions, and projects including Baptist Missionary Society and Baptist Home Missions and join local churches in evangelistic events. There is great potential for further growth in outreach.

Relationship with local churches

We have good relationships with other fellowships in the locality. The ministers meet with local churches ecumenically and the leaders of larger evangelical churches of the town also meet together for prayer and consultation.

Sunday worship

There are usually two Sunday morning services, with the same Bible reading and teaching being central, prayer, and a mixture of songs and hymns. The teaching is followed up in the small groups. Twice a month there is a third service in the evening one of these being contemporary in style and the other more reflective. .

  • 'Celebration!' (at 9.30am) is characterised by a time of contemporary worship and prayer followed by teaching. The worship is accompanied by a band and led by one of our worship leaders. The children's and young people's ministry runs in parallel with this service.

  • 'Family Service' is geared to children, and replaces the 'Celebration!' service on the second Sunday of each month.

  • 'Reflections' (at 11.15am) as its name implies is a quieter service where the music is accompanied by an organ and keyboard combination where prayer, Bible reading and times of open worship precede the teaching. The teaching at Celebration and Reflections is the same.

  • '5th Sunday' happens whenever there are five Sundays in a month. At this service both morning congregations meet together at 10.30am.

  • 'Encounter' takes place monthly and is an all-age worship and teaching event that happens on the first Sunday of each month at 5.30pm. It is intentionally more contemporary to engage a younger generation.

  • Evening services are held at 5.30pm and often reflect the church calendar (such as Advent or New year) or are themed.

  • Communion is celebrated on two Sundays each month at different services.

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This week at Victoria

December 2017

Tuesday 12th December 2017

Kids' Football 5.30pm to 6.30pm in Gildredge House Sports Hall

Wednesday 13th December 2017

CAMEO (with lunch)  10.00 am to 12.00pm in Welcome Centre

Vicky Bees  10:00 am to 11.45am in Lower Floor Suite

Boys' Brigade  7.00pm to 9.00pm in Main Hall

Thursday 14th December 2017

Women's Fellowship  2.45 pm in Wigner Room

Friday 15th December 2017

Vicky Bees  10:00 am to 11.45am in Lower Floor Suite

Kids' Club  5.00pm to 6.30pm in Main Hall

Friday Night Youth  7.00pm to 8.30pm in Main Hall

Sunday 17th December 2017

Sunday Celebration Service  9.30 am in Main Auditorium

Sunday Reflections Service  11.15 am in Main Auditorium

Christmas Carols by Candlelight  6.30pm to 7.45pm in Victoria Baptist Church

Monday 18th December 2017

CLT Meeting 7.30pm to 9.30pm in Main Hall

Cardarama 7.30pm to 9.30pm in Welcome Centre

Wednesday 20th December 2017

Boys' Brigade  7.00pm to 9.00pm in Main Hall

Sunday 24th December 2017

Sunday Celebration Service  9.30 am in Main Auditorium

Sunday Reflections Service  11.15 am in Main Auditorium

Carols for Kids and Christingle  4.00pm to 5.00pm in Victoria Baptist Church

Monday 25th December 2017

Christmas Day Celebration Service  10.30am to 11.15am

Sunday 31st December 2017

5th Sunday Celebration  10.30 am in Main Auditorium

New Year's Eve Watchnight Worship  11.30pm to 12.15am

January 2018

Friday 5th January 2018

Kids' Club  5.00pm to 6.30pm in Main Hall

Friday Night Youth  7.00pm to 8.30pm in Main Hall

Sunday 7th January 2018

Sunday Celebration Service  9.30 am in Main Auditorium

Sunday Reflections Service  11.15 am in Main Auditorium

Tuesday 9th January 2018

Kids' Football 5.30pm to 6.30pm in Gildredge House Sports Hall

View full calendar

Youth and Children