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Walking the Way News

dare rFor Darwen Asylum and Refugee Enterprise in Lancashire, Christian mission isn’t complicated. All you need is an idea, and the kind of love that may seem small to us, but is, in fact, huge in God’s eyes. They look to scripture for inspiration, reading in John 12:34: “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

In the face of Covid-19, the project has had to find fresh ways of supporting the community, especially asylum seekers and refugees. Has closing the doors of the building to protect people against the spread of the virus stopped this important work? No!

Read more: Christian mission 'not complicated' says Darwen Asylum and Refugee Enterprise (DARE)

letherhead rEarlier this year, whilst youth clubs in Leatherhead, Southern Synod were closed due to Covid, youth work moved online. Video calls and Minecraft became a lifeline, both for groups and one-to-one calls with young people, but some protection from spiders and crocodiles has been necessary. Here are anonymised examples of how this has helped two young people in particular...

Read more: Youth leaders protected from spiders and crocodiles in Leatherhead

blackburn rLockdown has not stopped Revidge Fold URC in Blackburn, Lancashire from serving the local neighbourhood in a time of great need, as efforts to provide winter wellbeing packs, Christmas Hampers, knitted blankets and a community garden have all continued.

When Age UK Blackburn within Darwen asked if the church could help them in distributing Winter Wellbeing Packs to people who are in particular need of them in the Blackburn with Darwen area, the church was happy to do so, especially as it was delivering its own church newsletters anyway. A total of 42 packs were delivered to people in need, including advice leaflets, a room thermometer, a pen, puzzles, recipes, knitting patterns, health advice and other useful items. Other URC congregations and ecumenical partners also engaged with this project by providing hand-written Christmas cards which were sent out alongside the Winter Wellbeing packs.  These were very much appreciated by all who received them, especially the Christmas cards, which added a personal touch.

 

Read more: Neighourhood engagement continues in Blackburn lockdown

halesworth rRegulars of Messy Church groups across the globe know that sharing food plays an important part in Messy Church sessions. Without the ability to share food in online sessions, would people still come to Halesworth URC’s Messy Church?

Lucy Moore, one of the original founders of Messy Church, describes eating together as “one of the main aspects of Messy Church that gives it identity”.

Food brings people together in a way nothing else does. It's central to all cultures and traditions, especially those expressed the Bible. Jesus feeds a crowd which is following him, when his disciples tell him they're hungry. He informed his disciples of his impending death during a Passover meal and appeared to his disciples, after his resurrection, ready to cook a meal for them.

It's hard for those involved with Messy Church to imagine coming together without sharing food, and so the Messy Church team at Halesworth URC in Eastern Synod was worried, as they moved sessions online, that people wouldn't come along if they couldn't eat together.

Read more: Lack of food doesn’t get Halesworth Messy Church down!

swales

Christmas dinner was on Jesus when Bolton churches fed 5,000 people with a bumper Christmas meal over the festive period. More than 2,560 chocolate selection boxes were also gifted to children. Christmas might have been different this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, but the Christian story was still the same.

Simon Peters, walking the way project manager, has been moved by the creativity and ingenuity which local churches have shown during these strange times. ‘Covid-19 is not easy to deal with’, he says, ‘but the call for us all to Walk the Way of Jesus continues, and churches are answering it!’

Read more: ‘2020 Christmas was different, but the story was the same’

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