A Methodist church in Kendal, Cumbria is planning 10 days of intensive outreach this Easter to tie in with HOPE’s 2014 year of mission.
Sandylands Methodist church is located in the north-east of Kendal. The Sandylands estate has a population of around 2500. However, this is set to increase very soon, with the development of 200 new houses – just under half of these are affordable housing.
Since the refurbishment of Sandylands Methodist two years ago, the church didn’t want to simply create a new space for members, but somewhere that could act as a centre for the whole community, and a hub from which to reach out to local people with God’s love in word and deed.
Two years ago the church started a three-year partnership with Cliff College in Derbyshire, where 6-8 students come alongside the church and help them engage in mission. In this second partnership year the church will be joined by eight theological students who will bring a range of skills and talents to assist with its community engagement.
In March 2013, Sandylands Church cleared some 16 gardens of rubbish and filled eight skips, all in partnership with the local housing association. Many local people spoke very positively about their efforts so much so that the church had a mention in the Houses of Parliament by MP, Tim Farron.
"The project has had a great response, and I know from seeing some of the comments on Facebook just how much this has been appreciated. This is yet another example of community spirit in action in Cumbria, and everyone involved with the Sandylands Methodists' campaign is a real credit to our region and an example to the whole country”.
Jonny Gios, community worker at the church reflected back on 2013 as the church prepares to launch their Hope Mission over Easter: “Last year was fantastic for us a church to really engage with local residents, to build up positive relationships in our community and to shine for Jesus.”
This year lots of activities are planned for the churches 10-day mission, hashtagged #hopesandylands on Twitter:
On Palm Sunday the church will be moving from its normal meeting place, into the community. The church will be serving breakfast in the local park on Sandylands. As well as a place to sit and relax, there will be chance to listen to music and an Easter Labyrinth for people to discover what Easter is all about. Children who come along from the estate will have the chance to explore Easter in a tent of their own with many different fun activities.
Jonny is co-ordinating the 10-day mission and a large number of volunteers both from the church and the local community:
“I’m really excited about the difference we can make in our community – but I’m more excited about how Jesus can bring hope to people with his message of love and forgiveness. Please pray for us over Easter as we seek to be Jesus’ disciples in word and deed.”
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