Loving Jesus and living lives that serve Him
Oaklands Church was originally known as Swansea Valley Bible Church (SVBC), and was established in 1991 by Peter & Lynne Yeoman, who moved back to South Wales from Okehampton in Devon at the prompting of God. Our first meeting was in the band room (a tin shed) in Godrergraig, and over the following years the church grew, needing to move around to find bigger meeting places. We took ownership of their current premises in 1998, and have been there ever since; still growing and still seeking God's plan.
In 2009, Peter & Lynne handed the baton to their son and daughter-in-law, Andrew & Helen, who took over the senior leadership of SVBC. They have been in this position ever since, supported by a fantastic team of leaders who all have a passion for the work God has established. In 2010 this was reflected in the establishing of Mission Communities (think small house churches) in strategic locations across our area.
Over the years we have known God move in many exciting ways: the establishment of a school of ministry, planning and running of a huge multi-day mission called Shine that ran in the city for four years, mission trips to various countries across Europe, tent missions to small villages and communities in our area. Perhaps most excitingly, our Mission Communities have all since flourished and grown into their own separate partner churches, still linked with Oaklands Church.
During the Covid Pandemic, we felt strongly that we should focus more on these smaller, partner churches and aim to see them grow in God and become more firmly rooted in their communities. We also knew that it was time to change the name of our church from Swansea Valley Bible Church to Oaklands Church, in response to a prophecy about us being a field of oaks, not just a single tree.
Since 2018 we have been building stronger relationships with many of the churches in the city of Swansea, supporting each other in prayer (including running monthly joint prayer meetings) as well as being accountable to each other and planning future evengelistic events. We believe that God has plans for the city and are looking forward to seeing what He does there.
We are excited to see what God has planned for Oaklands Church - and its partner churches - in the next 30 years!
What We Believe
Oaklands Church ultimately exists to fulfil the great commission of Jesus Christ, through telling people the good news of the Kingdom, the discipling of God’s people, and the raising up of workers for His work. But what does that mean?
The Good News
We can know the one, true God. He is our heavenly Father and has provided a way for us to have a relationship with Him. This is through his son, Jesus, who came to Earth as a man and allowed himself to be killed in order to be the sacrifice that was needed to pay the price for ALL the wrong things (sin) that we do. So, even though we are not born holy, we are made that way when decide to live our lives for Jesus, and accept the forgiveness that He offers. Even better is that Jesus defeated death by rising from the dead after three days. This means that we don't have to fear death any more, because we know that our limited time on Earth is followed by an eternity with our Saviour!
Followers of Jesus are known as his disciples; this is what we are all called to be once we start our relationship with Him. It's a lifelong journey of discovery, love, joy and grace. It's a journey that we make together as The Church. We are a group of people who all function together to accomplish the purposes of God, learning from each other, giving to each other, sharing and supporting, but most of all we grow in our knowledge and understanding of who God is and who He is calling us to be. We understand that even though Jesus returned to heaven to be with his Father, we now have the Holy Spirit dwelling with us; continuing to transform and equip us, to strengthen us and build our character. Through all these things, we show others who Jesus is and what he can do for them too. We believe that the local church has an essential role to play in reaching their community, eventually to reach out and plant further afield.
Raising up Workers
All this is possible because as we grow in God, we are equipped for the work of telling others about what Jesus did for us and what he can do for them. This is not something extra to fit into our lives; it permeates every aspect of our lives. As our understanding grows, so our desire to serve the God who has done so much for us will also grow. Whether it's being called to leadership, or to help with kids work, or to organise a food drive, or to train as a missionary to go abroad, we are ALL involved in the same work: the purposes of God. Following Jesus is not a passive box-ticking exercise; it is a rewarding, active life that is full of purpose.
Andrew & Helen Yeoman
Andrew serves as Senior Minister of Oaklands Church and its wider mission work. He is married to Helen, who serves as an associate minister in the church, and they have three children.
His role in the church is to provide vision for the spiritual building of Oaklands and her congregations, and also to mobilise the people for mission and serving the Lord.
Andrew’s spiritual passion is for the visitation of God in the Church and the world; for the Church to rediscover her New Testament roots and calling in promoting the Gospel of Jesus in the 21st Century, and to see a new generation of people bringing the Kingdom of God into this world.
Andy & Emma Piddington
Andy serves as one of the Associate Ministers and Elders here at Oaklands Church. He is married to Emma, and has three grown up children.
Andy & Emma came to serve Oaklands Church in 1992 after being called by God from Okehampton, Devon. Andy’s role and heart is for the pastoring of the people, and ensuring they live as whole people in pursuing the things of the Kingdom of God and serving the local church.
Andrew & Sarah Griffiths
Andrew is an elder at Oaklands Church, and is our Director of Worship & Music. He is married to Sarah, and father to three grown up sons. He is also a well known composer, music producer and session musician in the UK.
Andrew is one of the original members from the start of the church in 1991. He leads worship at Oaklands Church and Cribarth Community Church, and also oversees the other worship leaders and musicians.
Richard & Joanne Steadman
Richard is an elder and associate minister in Oaklands Church. He is married to Joanne, and has a daughter and a son.
Richard & Joanne are part of the leadership of River of Life church in Clydach. As well as ministering locally, Richard serves as part of the mission leadership team that goes out from Oaklands and ministers prophetically.
Ceirion & Katie Harries
Ceirion is an elder and associate minister at Oaklands Church and also, with his wife Katie, is the pastor at Cribarth Community Church based in Abercraf. Cei and Katie have three children.
Cei has served as a lecturer and dean of a number of Biblical training schools.
Barny & Christie Harper
Barny has a heart for evangelism, pastoring and teaching, and is an elder here at Oaklands Church. He has lived and studied at Bible college in the US, and taught at numerous Bible schools. He is married to Christie and they have two boys.
As well as being part of Oaklands, they serve as the pastors of Hope Church over in Garnant.
Chris & Siân Pavett
Chris is an elder in Oaklands Church. He is married to Siân and they have two grown up sons and two teenage daughters.
Chris & Siân are part of the leadership of River of Life church in Clydach (previously Lighthouse Church) where they’ve been based for the last 11 years. Chris is also a member of the worship team at River of Life Church and Sian also helps to run the YoYo kids work at Oaklands.
Owen & Anne Clay
Owen and his wife Anne moved to the Swansea Valley in 2009 with no idea why they had come to the area! It turns out that God had a plan and has placed them in Oaklands Church, where Owen now serves as an elder. They also have a son.
They both serve as part of the leadership of Cribarth Community Church in Abercraf.
Matthew & Natasha Rees
Matthew has been part of Oaklands Church since he was a teenager and he understands the challenges that face the church in the local area. He is married to Natasha and they are senior leaders of the Youth leadership team. They also have a heart for the younger generation, those too old for a youth group but still trying to find their place in the church and the world.
They also both serve as part of the leadership of River of Life Church in Clydach.
Phil & Mef Wolsey
Phil & Mef have been part of Oaklands Church since they were teenagers. Having experienced a move of the Spirit when young in the SVBC youth group. They now have three children and have developed a genuine love for the House of God and the wider Kingdom work.
As well as being part of the Oaklands leadership, they both serve in the leadership of Hope Church, Garnant.
Hayley has a wonderful testimony of God’s saving grace, and since graduating Teen Challenge, has been involved in many missions and evangelism teams around the UK and the world.
Hayley heads up an intercessory prayer ministry in the Amman Valley each week, and serves along side Barny & Christie in leading Hope Church.
Hayley is also a passionate worship leader in Oaklands Church.