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Bolnore Village is one of various new developments to the south of Haywards Heath where there has been a lack of churches. In establishing Grace Church, our vision has been to grow a church for the Haywards Heath area centred on Bolnore, and shaped in all we do by four particular values:

1) Treasuring Christ and so serving him wholeheartedly.
2) Prioritising Church as the caring community from which this service flows.
3) Embracing Truth in applying the Bible to every sphere of life.
4) Living Mission by reflecting and sharing Christ in all we do.

People who join us comment that they appreciate the warmth of our welcome, our concern to include those of all ages in everything we do, our not being too big a church to be a genuine family, and our teaching of the Bible at all levels.


Wherever you are from, we would love to see you, and especially if you live in or near Bolnore.


Our affiliations


Grace Church is what's termed an independent church. This means that it is self-governing. However, it doesn't mean we stand alone. We are affiliated to the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC), a group of around 600 churches representing 50,000 people with a shared commitment to "independent churches working together." We are also a member of the Sussex Gospel Partnership (SGP) for which Jon works two days a week as their associate trainer. The SGP comprises churches from numerous denominations, all working towards a vision of seeing "a growing gospel church in every Sussex community." More locally, Grace Church maintains close links with other local churches and Jon belongs to the Haywards Heath and District Evangelical Fellowship.


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Jon Hobbs

Jon is married to Bethan with three children. He is our minister and so one of our elders and our safeguarding trustee. Jon has particular responsibility for teaching, for overseeing the word ministries of the church, and supporting those with more complex pastoral needs. Jon also leads our Thursday evening community group. Click here to learn more about Jon. 

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Bethan Hobbs

Bethan is married to Jon,
and co-ordinates the Wednesday morning community group and Messy Church.

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Ben Read

Ben is our trainee minister, studying for ministry one day a week whilst working for the church with the rest of his time. He is involved in all aspects of church life but particularly in co-ordinating our youth work. He also helps in the running of children and youth Camps, and leads one of our Wednesday evening Community Groups.

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Luke Thomas

Luke is married to Claire with five children. He works in business, and alongside his general role as an elder and trustee he has particular responsibility for overseeing the financial matters of Grace Church and co-ordinating our Sunday evening community group.


Katie Guthrie

Katie co-ordinates our Monday afternoon community group.

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Sally Bannister

Sally works in business and is our treasurer, co-ordinating financial matters. She is also a trustee.

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Tom Burstow

Tom is married to Vicky with three children. He works in the charity sector, and alongside his general role as an elder and trustee he leads one of our Wednesday evening community group.

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Sarah Schnellmann-Smith

Sarah is a children's nurse and motherm who serves as our deputy safeguarding co-ordinator.

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David Guthrie

David is a retired teacher and grandfather, who serves as our safeguarding co-ordinator.

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We are delighted that everyone at Grace Church serves in some way, within the church and as they represent Christ in the world.


Those from the whole range of Christian backgrounds have found a happy home amongst us.

We are mainstream in our beliefs, holding to the Apostles and Nicene Creeds (statements of belief) which are affirmed by all major streams of Christianity and date right back to the third century.


We are also classed as an evangelical church. This simply means that we prioritise sharing and believing the gospel or good news ('evangel' in Greek) about Jesus Christ. This 'good news' comprises the truths that the Bible would have us treat as of first importance. We happily therefore subscribe to the classic statements of evangelical belief such as those of the Evangelical Alliance or the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches.


Some may be interested to know that we are also reformed in our convictions and practice, cherishing and wanting to promote the sort of high view of God and his grace that marked the Reformation. This means that we can also affirm the central truths of the Church of England's 39 Articles and of the Westminster standards.



Jon is married to Bethan. They have three children and live in Bolnore Village.

Having worked in business and as a Policeman, Jon spent five years working with students for the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) before training for ministry at Oak Hill Theological College in London. He then served in church leadership for nine years before becoming minister of Grace Church in 2012, combining this with serving for two days each week as the Sussex Gospel Partnership's Associate Trainer.

Outside of local church life Jon is a member of the Pastors' Network of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. He sits on the steering committee of the Sussex Gospel Partnership, for which he chairs a cluster-group of church ministers and acts as champion for church planting and revitalization. In his capacity as Associate Trainer he also lectures on the Sussex Ministry Training Courses. And he is a trustee for the Christian band "Lion of Judah."

Jon enjoys films, the outdoors, and his family - but not in that order! His greatest desire, however, is to see people come to know Christ and have his teaching inform and transform every sphere of their lives. He is therefore particularly keen to develop Grace Church in a way that is accessible to those unused to church, that engages families and young people and that might promote Christ in the wider Haywards Heath area.

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