What do you find through church?
We are reaching beyond our congregation to encourage residents to come along to their local church and find out more about the diverse range of community services it provides. The campaign will tell our story through the eyes of Suffolk residents, starting with Maxine and René. We hope that their stories resonate with others and encourage them to find out more.
René rediscovered church in his 30s, though his faith had stayed strong throughout. Like so many people, he was nervous of going into a new church. What would he find behind those big oak doors? How would he be received? When he found the courage he received a warm, enthusiastic welcome; and knew that he had found just the right church.
René loves the routines and reflection that this church allows in his increasingly pressurised life. That hour on a Sunday morning, letting the rhythms of the church service bring comfort and enlightenment, is a point of peace in the week. Of course there is more to a church community than services, and René enjoys the opportunity to be part of something greater than himself: an active, tolerant and kindly group of people who are guided and enhanced by their faith.
When he found the courage he received a warm, enthusiastic welcome; and knew that he had found just the right church.
Read more here.
Maxine wanted to do something useful and Lightwave seemed like the right way to do it: working in rural villages around her community, helping people across the generations. During the pandemic, Maxine has helped to get food packs and internet training to people who found their normal shops closed and themselves ill-equipped to take up online shopping slots. That gave her a sense of purpose but left her with her spiritual needs unfulfilled. As she became aware of this, she embarked on the Alpha course.
Her faith completes her life, reduces her anxiety and helps her put things into perspective.
She took communion last Christmas Eve in her local church: the first time in her life she felt completely at home in a church. Her friends, initially concerned about Maxine’s new interest in faith, are fully supportive now they see the benefits it has brought her. And her adult daughter is keen to start an Alpha course with her mum.
Still a very active part of the Lightwave community, Maxine describes herself as now being fulfilled. Her faith completes her life, reduces her anxiety and helps her put things into perspective.
Read more here.
Martha grew up in a Christian household. As a teenager she thought long and hard about her faith, which really came into its own during the stress of lockdown when she and her sister both found themselves out of school at crucial times in their education.
Her church has adapted to the situation by offering on-line worship, and she’s been able to keep the book club she runs going virtually: a great link with the varied people she’s met through Bridge Church.
Digital technology has allowed Martha to connect with her faith in other ways too, when she most needs it.
As she takes her first steps into a new career - delayed too, by the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions - she can bring faith into her everyday life through things like an app which sends her a short excerpt from the Bible once a day, at random times.
Read more here.
When Emma Tarbun, became a mum for the first time, she started to take their daughter to family services at St Edmund’s church in Southwold, and formed a friendship group that they were soon to rely on more than they could ever have expected.
Emma says it takes more than parents to raise a child: it takes a community. And that’s what they have found. Their church welcomes them all: even when the children’s energy bursts out mid-service, Emma is reassured by the kindness of other people, who often tell her not to be concerned, and that it is important for the next generation of worshippers to be welcomed here too.
Read more here
To find a church near you
Please visit: www.achurchnearyou.com
Further Information and resources
- Families at church | weblink
- Young people at church | weblink
- Volunteering in our church | weblink
- Alpha courses | weblink
- Beccles Parish Church | weblink
- LIghtwave groups | weblink
- Bridge Church | weblink
- Church resource pack for the campaign | weblink