Church Army - June 2010 - ESS Warwick Gates
Church Army Evangelists Roger Horsley and Paul Warren, and Mission-based Trainees Damien Hine and Dawn Hudson, are establishing the Warwick Gates Centre of Mission, in the Diocese of Coventry.
There are a vast number of people spread out across the whole parish who would never cross the threshold of the church buildings. Church Army is developing long-term relationships with these people, so that they can share the love of Jesus in ways that are relevant to them.
Roger says: “My vision is to see Warwick Gates Community Church become an essential part of the area and to see Christian community built on the housing estate. I long for the day when the people on this highly populated estate feel like they belong, and are accepted unconditionally, instead of the current situation of people feeling isolated or lonely.”
The work of Church Army is rooted in the community, and includes a strong partnership with local schools: taking assemblies, Religious Education lessons, running an after school family service called ‘Kidzone’, and also a youth group called Pizza and Prayer (where the team try to answer questions about the Bible, faith, or life in general).
Paul says: “In the new community centre we have already established a toddler group called Ready Steady Grow. We aim to provide a place where parents and carers can bring small children, and where they can all grow in their knowledge of Jesus. We are also hoping to use the building for drop-in centres and homework clubs, amongst other things.
We are also using the local allotments to reach out to men of all ages. I hope and pray that by next harvest time we will be able to have a harvest allotment service, and that it will become a regular part of our programme.”
Many people on the housing estate work at Jaguar Land Rover Aston Martin, where Roger is the Chaplain. “I want to offer practical and spiritual support to people where they work,” says Roger, “and I have been running an Alpha Course there, to help Christians share their faith with
The team also gives out free bread, every month, to people living in social housing within the parish. This has led to many amazing, personal conversations, including that with a young man who was so touched by this form of outreach that he is now part of the church.
Church Army training is about being placed in the heart of communities, where the love of Jesus can be shared with the people who are in desperate need of it. Church Army trainees (Damien and Dawn) serve as apprentices alongside experienced Evangelists – the Training Enablers (Roger and Paul). This Mission-based Training is built around a professional qualification: a Foundation Degree in Evangelism, which will take up to four years to gain.
Damien says: “A Centre of Mission is a place where pioneer ministry and training come together. Trainees – like Dawn and I – and Evangelists are able to grow in our relationships with God and other people, and develop the confidence to explore our unique ministries.”
The ultimate goal of transforming people’s lives through the love of Jesus is paramount to everyone at the Centre of Mission. Evangelists and trainees
know that God is working through them to change people’s lives in this community.
Dawn says: “I recently prayed for a lady who had immense pain in her knee and was waiting for an operation on it. As we prayed I really sensed the power of God, but she hurried away afterwards, so I respected that, but wondered whether God had actually healed her. A few weeks later she rushed up to me to tell me that after witnessing to her surgeon about the heat on her knee, and having had the laying on of hands, she had no more pain. Together they excitedly discussed God’s power and healing. They decided to cancel the operation. She is still well today.”
• For four people who have just become Christians to get stronger in their faith
• For our give away of free bread to people in need, and the resulting conversations about Jesus
• For the Chaplaincy at Jaguar Land Rover Aston Martin
• For God’s blessing and protection on Roger, Paul, Damien and Dawn
• For sufficient funding for the Warwick Gates Centre of Mission, and the spiritual growth this is bringing