38th Annual Report 2023

Highfields Church Annual Report prepared May 2024

Introduction to 2023 Annual Report for 2024 AGM

Gospel GrowthOne of the most common New Testament images for gospel ministry is that of growing fruit. There’s no room for pride or tribalism in such work, because says Paul in 1 Cor 3:6, ‘I planted the seed, Apollos watered, but God has been making it grow’. Moreover, gospel ministry, as modelled on the Lord Jesus himself, involves death to self. For, ‘very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds’ (John 12:24-25). In order for the gospel to bear fruit, there first needs to be a willingness to die. And so, in God’s kingdom, we gain by losing.

In Spring 2023 we thought and prayed a lot about Gospel Growth at Highfields Church. Sunday sermons, midweek small groups, and whole church conversation all got us asking the question: what would it mean for us to see the gospel grow in and through Highfields? What would it mean personally and corporately? One of the answers that we felt the Lord unmistakably leading us to, was to plant a church in Penarth.

The background. Back in April 2022 I went to the Together for the Gospel conference in the US, where I met Ricky Wilhelm, an American church planter from Moscow, Russia, who had been sadly repatriated due to the invasion of Ukraine. A heart for preaching, pastoring, and the local church, Ricky along with wife Brandy and their two children were at a crossroads in life and ministry. To cut a long story short, Ricky and Brandy felt led to move to Cardiff in order to get to know the gospel need here in Wales. They both joined Highfields in September 2023 and embedded themselves into our church community. Over the following months, the Wilhelms committed to praying about church planting, and the Highfields elders started doing the same. After lots of discussion and prayer (which for some of us stretched back to several years) in June 2023 Highfields church voted to start a new gospel work in Penarth, led by Ricky and two other elders—Nigel Graham & Jon Popham.

Penarth Evangelical Church

Church planting & revitalisation has been part of the DNA of Highfields Church since the earliest of days. We’ve had the privilege of being involved in the establishment and support of several gospel works over the years—Thornhill, Minster, Llanishen Evangelical, Redeemer Church Adamsdown & The Bridge Church Pontprennau—and so it was a great joy in November 2023 to see the launch of Penarth Evangelical Church. With a core team of around thirty, between sixty and seventy people, young and old, mature believers and interested enquirers, are now gathering together each week, committed to Bible-believing, cross-preaching, soul-reaching, life-engaging and community-creating together.

At the time of writing (April 2024), PEC has been approved as a church plant with the FIEC, and has applied for charitable status, when it will legally become an independent church. To God be the glory!

One of the mixed blessings of being a church like Highfields is having to get used to the constant comings and goings! 2023 was no different as we said goodbye to stellar Ministry Apprentices Esther Jackson (to Landsdown Church, Bournemouth) and Toby Reid (working with OM in Oswestry). It has been lovely having Maisie Weller stay on, who was joined by Cat Turner in our newly designed Ministry Intern roles. January saw the arrival of Sarah Norton (church manager) and Jonny Thomas (youth and families) in August. We thank God for arrival of such five-star individuals. Jon Reeves took a well-earned sabbatical over the summer. It is such a privilege leading the staff team! I’m constantly reminded of Jesus’ exhortation: ‘to whom much has been given, much will be expected’ (Luke 12:48).

Which brings us to the Annual Report produced this year. It can’t possibly tell every story from 2023, but it is a collection of snapshots: God’s faithfulness seen in the lives of ordinary Christians serving an extraordinary God. I hope you’re as encouraged reading it as we have been in putting it together. What role might you play with us in the coming year?

With much love in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, your friend and brother,


Dave Gobbett 

Not to us O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness (Psalm 115:1)


Please browse the following documents to catch up on what has been happening during the year. (Because the reports contain some personal information you will need to be logged in to see them)

Reports, Minutes and Agenda for AGM

Annual Report for 2023
Detailed Report on Church Ministries during 2023 for 2024 Annual General Meeting
Finance Report 2023
Detailed Report on Church Finance for 2023
Minutes of 2023 Annual General Meeting
Draft Minutes for 2023 Annual General Meeting
Agenda for 2024 Annual General Meeting
Detailed Agenda for AGM - 22nd May 2024



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