A few months ago, I heard that there was to be a service at Dray Court for those who would like to come. Unfortunately I missed the first one, but have attended the rest of them, on a monthly basis. Beverly asked if anyone would like to join the “steering committee”, and so I put my name down, along with Stan, a fellow resident of Palmer’s Lodge (which, like Dray Court, is under the auspices of Guildford Borough Council.)
There are about 7-8 of us who regularly meet with Beverly, and we discuss various things that could possibly interest the residents from both establishments. We try to have a theme, in relation to the time of year. This last one being Easter, was different because after the service, along with tea and biscuits, we were given little Easter eggs and one of our committee brought in some foil trays and earth, along with moss, plants and stones, so that we could create our own “Easter gardens” – a bit messy, but the mess was soon cleaned up.
At an earlier service, I was asked to talk about an amazing project that I am involved with at my own church (a section of the Kings Church, whose original base was in Aldershot, but our section meets in the Godalming College refectory each Sunday):
There was a need in Kampala to help build a new school, as the other one had collapsed, and there were about 100 children who needed new accommodation. The authorities in Kampala did help by supplying temporary accommodation, but there was a time limit for the use of portable units. Our church found out what was needed, and sent out brochures to all its members. The response seemed slow, to the request for £20,000 for new land, plus £200,000 to purchase and build the school, plus equipment of course!
On a limited pension, I did not know how I could help! The help came as I was doing my daily readings, as that day’s subject was “the Parable of the Talents” (Matthew 25:14-30). One word stood out for me: “talent”. For a while, nothing happened. Then I was told “why not give the money you are donating, share it out between 20 children and get them to use it however they liked (as long as it was legal!) to see how much they could raise?” So! I gave each child £2 and 3 months to use it, before giving it to our Missionary Secretary. I did not want to know what or how they were doing, so had to wait till 9th December 2012, when everyone shared how they had used it, and their total sum raised. The ages of the children ranged from 6 to 18 and everyone was so proud as they presented their “talent offering”! That morning will go down in church history, as they made… wait for it… £672, from £15 up to £120 per child. Wow!!
It proves that if children are encouraged by their parents, teachers and friends, to do something different or difficult, they will rise to that challenge, far beyond what their parents expect. All they want is the chance and encouragement to show just what they can achieve, rather than being told to “wait until you’re older”. “Encouragement” is the operative word.
I went on a diet (as I had to play my part) and raised £320 plus £60 from 2 house signs which I made out of wood. An offering plate was put out, and along with the above total of £1,052, we raised between us £1,249.50. This total passed to me on the following Tuesday.
Are you sitting comfortably? because the next piece of information will blow you minds. On the Thursday, I had a phone call to say that an “anonymous donor” had given a cheque for… £1,249.50 to match the efforts made by the children and the parents. This meant our total was £2,450, to be used as a deposit on a new piece of land. From then on the donations started coming in, and the school was opened about 8 months later!!
ISN’T GOD GOOD!!!
Actually, the school is now too small, with 300 pupils. Some live in dormitories, as they have no parents, so we are now in the process of purchasing extra land for a secondary school!
Having Beverly as our leader for worship is a real blessing, as she relates to us all, and to those who come to the odd service.
All Saints’ Church is now celebrating 50 years of serving the community in Onslow Village, and so our next meeting on 10th May will be to discuss the contents of the next service. We would value all your prayers for this event, and that more residents would join us at future services, to share in God’s love. Do contact Beverly at All Saints’ if you have any ideas that could be used in our services.