On 1 March we launched our newest team in Redcar, North Yorkshire in partnership with Redcar Baptist Church.
We caught up with new team leader Dave Latham as he shares how God called him and his family to the community and what his hopes and dreams are for the new place he calls home.
What’s your background and how did you meet Jesus?
I’ve been a church-goer for as long as I can remember. My parents always took me to church and I went to the Christian school that was part of the church. I slowly absorbed the values and stories and made a decision to follow Jesus when I was around 5 years old.
After finishing school, I decided to go to Bible College. It was here that Jesus did a deep work in me of shifting my faith from being inherited from my parents to being intensely personal. It was a difficult process where I felt confused and had to face doubts and fears, but God was faithful in bringing me through stronger.
What is it about Eden that interests you or drew you to the role?
I used to live in Manchester and I heard about The Message Trust and Eden from a talk that Andy Hawthorne did at our church. Everything I’d learned about God and his ways pointed me to really consider the Eden life. Everything I’ve learned on my journey since then has only deepened my desire to obey God, whatever the cost.
Mark, the Minister of our local church here, asked me to consider leading an Eden team a few years ago. We didn’t feel that it was right for us at that time but fast forward to now, and God’s taken the church and us as a family on a bit of a journey. Everything has lined up. Now is definitely the right time to get started!
What are your hopes for the area?
In a word, hope. People move away from Redcar in surprising numbers. Young people find no reason to stay. But this town used to be a thriving seaside destination. I know we’re not going to fix the British weather, but I believe God wants to bring hope back to this place. Where there are empty high street units and broken homes, God wants to see life and healing.
As this Eden team walks in the way of Jesus, he will walk the streets of Redcar, wiping tears, reconnecting ruptured relationships, birthing light into dark corners. The gospel is for personal salvation and healing. We are more than excited about that. And the gospel is also for the transformation of society, nature and everything. God has a ludicrously audacious plan of redemption, and Redcar is not forgotten by him.
The beach here is stunning. Recently, a 6000 year old fossilised forest was exposed from under the sands by a storm. You can walk on the ancient roots. They remind me that the roots of God’s kingdom trace back to Eden, the garden. There, God elevated the first humans to rule and reign with him. To bear his image. God’s not moping about why we rebelled and chose death. He just broke death wide open. We in the Redcar Eden team are merely heralds of this news. There is hope!
How would you like your Eden team to make a difference?
As well as an Eden team, The Message is starting a Community Grocery Shop here in Redcar. It’s all kicking off at once! God’s timing is incredible. The Grocery will open up a great way for people in the community to meet one another. The courses that will be run from it will enable all of us in the community to share our skills and learn from one another. Jesus’ parable of yeast being mixed through the bread comes to mind. As people see us loving each other and everyone, Jesus will be glorified. There’s no better way to point to him than to love. I’m getting excited as we speak!