"My name is Sonny Simak, and I pastor Grace Church Southall in West London, UK. I was born in Punjab, India, to a Hindu family and moved to the UK in 2001 with my parents. The Lord saved me in 2007-08 while I was studying Chemistry at University in London. I married Sarita in 2012. Sarita too was born and brought up by a Hindu family in Southall.
I became involved in church planting in Southall in 2010 while I kept my secular job. I was able to leave my full-time job and took the role of an evangelist in 2013. The church plant then was constituted as the local church in late 2015. The church then called me to be their pastor in early 2016.
Southall is known as mini-India and has about twenty-eight thousand residents. It is one of the most religious towns in the UK. People come from various faiths such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other spiritual groups. There are several other denominational churches in Southall too.
Due to the ‘migrant’ nature of our town, therefore, Christians are often on the move in search of better jobs and living. The church membership is something most folks struggle to grasp.
We would, therefore, appreciate your prayers for the growth in both number and spiritual maturity in the life of the local church. We need mission-minded people who can understand the needs of this dark place and serve the Lord with much passion, love and boldness."
Update from Pastor Sonny Simak, November 2022
I trust this newsletter finds you well.
Praising The Lord
The Lord continues to be faithful to His people at Grace Church. The local church continues to serve the neighboring towns of Heston, Greenford, Hanwell, and Hayes & Harlington. The evangelism in Southall is often tough, as you can imagine. Southall’s demographic is ever-changing. We are seeing an influx of young people (mainly students) arriving from India and refugees from Ukraine and the Middle East in London. This, coupled with the new developments in and around our church, means that the 100s, if not 1000s, are leaving Southall for a better living standard elsewhere in the country. But we continue to reach as many as we can with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Image: The New Train Station (Elizabeth Line)
We praise Him for the ongoing ministry of His Word among us. We recently concluded our sermon series on the Ephesians. We are currently going through “The Sermon on The Mount” on Sundays and the book of Titus on Wednesdays. We have had a few new attendees on Sundays recently. We continue to encourage them in the Lord. We praise the Lord for a couple of Iranian brothers baptized on the last Sunday of October. It was an emotional day for them and the whole church family. This particular Sunday also marked our 12th anniversary of planting the church in Southall. As the Lord said, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but workers
are few.’ It is certainly true when we think of Southall. We need workers. We are grateful for those helping us in our service to the Lord. Although our town is extremely religious and has many historical churches, yet how many of the leaders are actually preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Women preachers and the word of faith ‘false gospel’ are very popular among South Asians in Southall.
This is why the Southall needs a faithful and prolonged witness. The Reformed Baptist doctrine is not easily received by many of those who have been exposed to faulty doctrines. We have sadly witnessed some people returning to the ‘wishy-washy churches’ to suit their faulty beliefs and behaviors. May the Lord help us all to remain steadfast in the truth of our Lord and Saviour.
Update on the proposed extension work
We praise the Lord for helping us raise funds thus far for our upcoming building project. There is still a long way to go, but we are trusting the Lord. The architect has given us a final design, and we await the local council’s approval in the coming week. Site context (From the architect) “The existing church building does not currently have any WC facilities that are accessed from within the building. There is currently a separate building to the rear of the site, which houses the existing WC facilities and a separate store. The current arrangement is not ideal, given that building users must go outside to be able to use the WCs, and additionally, the existing WCs are not accessible (to the standards of Building Regulations Part M), and there are stepped thresholds both out of the rear of the church and into the separate WC building. The WC building is also in very poor condition.”
“The proposed extension would accommodate an accessible WC (to the full standards of Building Regulations Part M), an additional single occupancy WC, a modest kitchen provision and serving hatch into a multipurpose room which would have an external door opening onto the existing external yard. A means of escape door would also be provided out from the existing main hall via the path to the side of the existing building.” One of the main reasons for these important works is to have a purpose-built facility and to provide a safe place for children to hang out.
The Architect has estimated the costs of these works to be around 90K. We have already started clearing the back room and have conducted the electrical survey and replaced the old electric board with a new one with
a view of adding the extension electric units in advance. The council should get back to us by mid- December.
- Please pray that we will continue to be faithful in our belief and behavior for God’s glory.
- Please pray for the increase of the ministry of the Word of God and the number of hearers among us for Christ’s sake.
- Please pray for our ongoing evangelistic efforts in Southall, in particular.
- Please pray for the provision for the funds for the building project, as it is a huge undertaking for a church our size. The Lord has helped us to raise about 20-25% of the estimated budget. A big thanks to everyone who has generously given to help us in this project.
On a personal note... Sarita and I are looking to move out of our current apartment (currently on the third floor, no lift and space-wise not adequate enough). She suffers from Crohn’s disease and living on the third floor isn’t good for her.
We are hoping to buy a small house so that we can live on the ground floor, which will enable us to be freer coming in and out of the house. Additionally, this way, our elderly parents can also visit us because Sarita’s parents, in particular, suffer from disabilities hence we haven’t had them visit us for the past three years. Buying a house isn’t easy in London, especially for second-time buyers, so please pray for the Lord’s provision and please pray that the Lord would be pleased to save our family members for His own glory. Thank you once again for your prayers, love, and support for us serving the Lord in Southall. The Lord Bless you.
Sonny Simak (Pastor, Grace Church