Our house, in the middle of our street

Published on: 1 November 2018

Not content with opening their home to others, Sue and Gary Moore, member of the Church Army, have gone one stop further by purchasing a second home for the use of those living in their community near Dereham, and calling it 'Our House'. Biddy Collyer went to meet them.

The idea came when they visited Maytree House in London which is run as a safe house for potential suicide victims. They wanted to recreate a similar space in Norfolk where people who were desperate could go away for three days and be supported by counsellors and psychologists day and night, to give them time to reflect. The house Sue and Gary subsequently bought is not large enough to offer the same facilities, but they have made a start by supporting their local community in a variety of ways.

Four years ago, Sue did an MA in Mission at Cliff College in Derbyshire. The following quote from that course is the one that drives their dream, “The missional church is one which disassembles itself and seeps into the cracks of culture.”

And that is what they are seeking to do by responding to the needs in their community as they arise. One such was prompted by a 90-year-old neighbour who suggested that they could provide meals for the housebound or those facing short-term difficulties and who need some practical support to tide them over. This they are now doing on an “as needs” basis.

So far, the mission has proved to be a slow work, but they are immensely patient and not afraid to wait for opportunities to open up, aware that as someone said it can take four years to get something off the ground. They view any knockbacks as a pressure to push things further.

Sue is a Cruse bereavement counsellor so running “The Bereavement Journey” was a natural fit. The six- session course includes a meal and provides community and support for those affected by bereavement, using a mixture of DVDs and discussion. The sixth, optional, week looks at questions of faith. Local funeral directors have been very supportive and are delighted to be able to signpost people to this and to the monthly “Changes” bereavement support group they also run. Sue sees her Cruse clients there as well.

When I asked them what the word “home” meant to them, Sue replied, “Security and trust. A place where you are always accepted, are comfortable and can just be yourself.” This is what they are building.

The ground floor is beautifully furnished, with a sitting room, dining room and large, fully-equipped kitchen. They are not a charity, but the upstairs is tenanted, and the rental income pays for the mortgage. Although Gary works full time as a decorator, as a part-time registrar for weddings Sue is free during the week to respond to whoever may need her help.

They haven’t given up their initial dream of replicating Maytree House in Norfolk but for now, 18 months in, “Our House” is providing a solid starting place.


Articles in this issue...

Supporting strangers and sojourners

Sally Clarke, who worships at St Stephens, Norwich, shares her individual approach in offering a home, not only to “regular” lodgers, but sometimes to those who others might think twice about accepting.

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Creating a home from home

When most people are settling into retirement, one couple took on a major project to provide a home from home for students. Here is their roller-coaster tale of the past two years.

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Adoption; the core of who we are

Without adoption, our Christian story might have been radically different. Christ’s earliest moments teach us to extend family generously, for our salvation as well as others’.

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What makes a home?

The cat’s made herself at home. After a year of upheaval, moving from Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, to Norwich (where she was bullied by a streetwise city cat) and then again to Sparham, Mo our 15-year-old cat has decided country life is the thing. She has also set up home in my PA’s office next door.

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A sense of belonging

Reflecting on home and family, I recall my own happy childhood when I naively believed everyone’s experience was similar. I was wrong. Family and home hold different meanings for people.

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Faith at home

Research by the Church of England has highlighted that one of the most important factors in enabling children to continue in faith through to adulthood is the support they receive from their family – and yet the Faith in our families report published last year by Care for the Family showed a widespread lack of confidence in parents and a lack of tools to help.

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Care Home Friends

Home and family comes in many different shapes and guises. One village church in Norfolk is making a real impact on the elderly in their community.

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Home at the heart of the Cathedral family

Before I worked in a cathedral l had never considered what such a majestic building really meant. Visiting cathedrals as a child I remember feeling unnerved within vast, cold space, stunned by stained glass windows, bemused by weird smells and strange objects. I recall the word “Shush” being used a lot too.

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The church as home – reflections on Mark 9:33-37

"Breaking down barriers and being a place that recognises that we're all unfit and need God and each other to get better"

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