This Sunday, 26th March at 1am the clocks will move forward by one hour, signalling the official start of British Summer Time. Daylight hours will be longer, and dark nights will be shorter. Already it is starting to get warmer, there are buds of blossom on the trees and bulbs sprouting from the ground.
Spring is in the air!
I don’t know about you but I love it. After the grey of winter, spring awakens our senses with bursts of colour, diversity and depth. Spring is a time of change, a season of welcoming in new life and restoring hope.
Spring seems the perfect time for us as a church family to be serving our local communities in new ways; to be reaching out and welcoming in more people.
I hope that you will be as excited as I am about the changes ahead!
Connect Supper becomes Connect Lunch
Over the last 18 months many of us have enjoyed our Connect Suppers as a wonderful space to catch up with each other over a simple meal. We are aware that there are people in our local community who, for a variety of reasons, are around during the day and would be blessed by having somewhere welcoming to go to for companionship and nourishment. We want to provide a space for old friendships to deepen, new friendships to grow and a real sense of community to flourish.
To facilitate this there will be the following changes:
- Instead of Friday suppers, the Connect meals will now be Monday lunches – 11am to 1pm. They are still drop-in during this time, no need to come for the whole time, but you are welcome to if you would like to.
- Connect Lunches will be weekly.
- Twice a month Connect Lunches will offer space for support agencies to host pop-up clinics to serve our communities with easier access to information and resources on a range of issues.
- Connect Lunches will be a Place of Welcome.
Places of Welcome is a growing nationwide network of hospitality run by local community groups who want to make sure that everyone in their area has a place to go for a friendly face, a cuppa and a conversation if and when they need it. The primary aim of the Places of Welcome network is that “Every neighbourhood has places where all people feel safe to belong, connect and contribute.” There are currently 7 Places of Welcome in Bradford, and we will be the first one in Leeds.
Dates for your diary
Connect Supper - Friday March 24th 5pm – 7pm.
Connect Lunch - Mondays from 24th April 11am – 1pm.
Body & Soul
Body & Soul is back!
Following the success of the 4 week trial of this fit, well and social group for women affected by mental health problems, Body & Soul is going to be run weekly during term-time starting after Easter.
The positive effects of exercise, relaxation and peer support on mental health are well documented. Body & Soul brings all of these elements into one group! There will be 45 minutes of fun simple dance aerobics led by a qualified instructor, followed by an extended cool down with lots of stretching and a guided relaxation session. There will also be plenty of social time for peer support and encouragement with healthy snacks and drinks.
The group is for any woman (age 18+) who feels they are affected by mental health problems of any sort, whether formally diagnosed or not. Access to the group is by referral only either through support services, or by self-referral. Contact Lucy Pitkin to self-refer.
The group is completely free.
There are plans for a men’s Body & Soul group later in the year.
Dates for your diary
Thursdays 11am - 1pm (exercise starts 11.30am) starting 20th April.
We are in the process of setting up a small counselling service at the Oak which will support people within the church and the local community.
The wonderful director of Wellspring Counselling and Training Centre in Harrogate, is part of Mosaic Church. Over the last year I’ve been consulting with her, in addition to the Association of Christian Counsellors, to gather the information and knowledge we need to facilitate a counselling service using voluntary qualified counsellors.
We now have the foundational policies and a project plan. There is still a lot of work to do to get the service off the ground including finding the funding to resource it, but we are hopeful that it will be started this year and have complete faith in God’s plan!
A huge thank you to all of our wonderful foodbank volunteers who are doing an amazing job at serving people on a Friday evening, and thank you to everyone who has donated food. The session has been steadily busy with service-users, whose crisis would have been even worse without access to the emergency food parcels.
How can you be involved in Social Action at the Oak?
- Thank God for the good plans that He has for us to serve our communities, the people He has already brought and the resources He has already given.
- Seek God to help us serve people in a way that restores hope, dignity, joy and faith. And for us to welcome all people as Christ welcomes us to Himself.
- Ask God for the resources we need to fund the services: financial, volunteers and everything else.
Many of us are already involved in social action, serving others naturally caring for them. In order to grow in the ways in which we serve our communities, we now need to build a social action team in a more formal and intentional way. We particularly need people who are able to commit to being on a serving rota for Connect Lunches, and women who are able to help with Body & Soul. If you would like more information about what this will involve, please email email@example.com.
Join and Share
Come along and join in! We would love to see you. Come along to a Connect Lunch, join in with Body & Soul (if appropriate to you). And please let others know what we are doing. Invite your friends, leave flyers at your doctor’s surgery, playgroups, work places. Everyone is welcome.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions, feedback or would like any further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or arrange a time to chat together.
God bless you heaps,
Social Action Ministry Leader