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Time to Talk

It's the 3rd April and I'm writing my blog - I'm back on track! March again has been busy but good. On the 10th I attended the first Open Space event held at Stapleton Road Congregational church in Bristol. It was open to everyone in the Federation but I couldn't help but be disappointed with numbers. However, the outcomes were good and conversations valuable. I'd never been to an Open Space event before so was unsure what to expect but it was a way of sharing your passions and then talking them out with others. I have always had a heart for children's work and I want to encourage all those who work week in, week out, month in, month out to run groups teaching our children and young people - myself included! If you ever need support or advice or ideas, then don't hesitate to be in touch.

I spent 4 days this month at the CWM Mission Forum with Judith, Johnny and Keith Bradley the North East Area Church Support Committee representative. The guest speaker was Rev Dr Sam Wells from St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square. He has written lots of books but his message was clear, we need to 'be with' people when doing God's mission. He categorised doing mission into 4 - being with, being for, working with and working for - highlighting being with as the most important. We also visited 'Sanctus' a project run by the Anglican Church in Stoke for asylum seekers which has become a real community hub. It is not just meeting physical and social needs but spiritual needs too as they run a bible study as part of the morning activities.

SanctusCWM have 32 member churches all over the world and often offer mission opportunities, so if this is something you might be interested again let me know

I was delighted to hear this month too that Hay Mills a CF project in Birmingham welcomed new members. The funding for the project will finish in June and Stephane who is the church worker is doing an incredible job and continues to lead the church to be an independent CF church. Please continue to pray for them and thanks to Judith and Johnny for all their input and support. Get ready to welcome Hay Mills as a new church at Assembly on 9th June in London.

The Church Support Committee meeting on 24th March went well and it was encouraging to read the Area reports. These were the themes I thought were highlighted as support needs and will be addressed

- resources for seasons in the church year, children, family services
- grants for buildings (check the Garfield Weston charity)
- more people extra help
- information on Congregationalism
- help on how to attract young people into church
- safeguarding and data protection

This month I have also attended
- the Free Churches Group meeting in London
- the Communications Group meeting in Nottingham chaired by Sandra Turner
- the Serving the Community Award meeting with Margaret Slater from Congregational Insurance. There were so many amazing entries I'm not sure how Margaret, John Bentham and Walter Riggans shortlisted. The winners will be announced at Assembly!

March was also Easter! I attended an amazingly moving service at Greenacres when the 5 Oldham Congregational churches worshipped together. It was lovely to see the Students on the Integrated Course, where Sian Lampard led her first communion service and Audrey Lee gave the address.

I enjoyed Easter with my family and worshipped with Wavertree all weekend.

God is amazing, I love my job and I'm in awe on how God has challenged me this Lent and revealed new things to me.

I pray God's abundant blessings on you through April - I'm looking forward to Craig James ordination in West End, Ebbw Vale and Brian Grist's induction at Staylbridge.

Yvonne

Greenacres Congregational Church