A Free "Money Matters" course is starting at Lansdowne Baptist Church next week.
It runs for six weeks and addresses issues such as debt control and money management. "Debt is a serious problem. Lots of people are very much in debt. The church can not help people get out of debt but can teach them not to get into debt," says churchgoer Sam Whitelaw.
This is the first ever course of this type the church has launched since its establishment in 1876.
Lansdowne Baptist Church is a daughter church from Boscombe Baptist Church. It was set up by 40 Baptists who wanted to spread the gospel to people of Bournemouth, a smaller town than Boscombe at the time.
The church became independent and had its own pastor eight years later. It started with only 20 members in the beginning but the church was later full of faithful followers after Pastor Francis Dixon initiated a series of Bible classes in 1945.
"The first thing he did was to start a Bible school. We had meetings in this church every Tuesday night," remembers Mr Whitelaw, 87, who was 25 at the time.
Dixon was famous for the classes and the sermon notes he prepared. "He taught the Bible and people came to listen," states Mr Whitelaw, "Because the notes were very organized, they were then spread out throughout the world."
By the time Pastor Harvy Kilbride took the position in 1970, the church had been very successful. Hundreds of people, in particular, young people crowded into the church.
The Hub (picture above), a building right next to the church, was purchased during the term of Pastor Michael Buss in 1980s. It is a venue for socialising activities such as "the Mustard Seed Coffee Bar" for international students on Friday evenings.
"The asking price was £80,000 and the congregation contributed £104,000 so that allowed us to do lots of work," Mr Whitelaw explains.
Pastor Christ Kelly took up his post in 2002 and continued ever since. The church has just celebrated its 130th anniversary last year and also keeps up with the times by offering practical courses such as "Money Matters", which is not limited to Christians.
(article and pictures by Tony Jian)