A member of the congregation came up with the idea of offering the Abbey as a “Warm Space” during the week. She researched what was already being offered locally and the church liaised with other local churches of all denominations to make sure there wasn’t any duplication. The idea of a simple soup lunch, free of charge where people are encouraged to stay, read magazines and try their hand at jigsaws was then agreed upon. Some very worthwhile pastoral contacts soon followed. The local council gave the PCC £2,000 towards heating costs and this has been a huge support.
Alongside this, a young mother offered to set up a small playgroup each week. We visited the excellent playgroup run by All Saints Mattishall who provided really helpful advice and a local charity provided funds for toys and equipment. This group has developed beyond all expectation and now regularly attracts up to 50 babies and toddlers with their carers. Again, some good pastoral contacts have followed with several enquiries about Baptism and a Wedding! Community Midwives are now making use of the warm space as well for post-natal groups.
Our experience has been really positive and we would encourage any other churches to “have a go and see where the Holy Spirit leads”.
If you have been encouraged by this story and would like to try and set something up Fr Christopher would be happy to have a discussion on how they set theirs up. You can email him or call 01953 605671 . You can also speak to our Children, Youth, and Families team if you would like any help, advice, or guidance around starting and running baby/toddler and carer groups or youth groups. You can contact them on: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also borrow resources from our resources centre for any groups you are currently running. Visit our resources website to find out more.