“The trustees of Wokingham United Charities are pleased to inform you (Woosehill Church) that your recent grant application has been successful and you have been awarded a grant towards the cost of art materials for the new Art Group”. I had to read that email statement a couple of times before I could believe it! What an answer to prayer! God at work in Woosehill Church – providing yet again!
My involvement in all this began a couple of years ago – at the end of a church service where Partnership For Missional Church (PMC) had been mentioned. “Go and find out what this PMC is all about” This was a bit more than a thought – it was one of those strong impressions that grabs hold of you and won’t let go!
I asked that very question of someone who I knew was involved in PMC and was immediately invited to come to a meeting. To cut a long story short, it took me a while to get my head round PMC but, when I did, I found myself excited by the idea of asking God to show us what He is doing – and where He wants us to join with Him in doing it.
“Trying to do PMC without prayer would be like sowing seeds and forgetting to water them” For the past two years many in the church have been praying daily automatically-emailed prayers for our community. As I read through those prayers now, I am struck by one such prayer:- “Give us stories to tell of how you ‘show up’ – how you guide and provide – stories that make us excited and want to tell people about you so that they, too, may be drawn to you.” That’s a prayer that has been answered over and over again – and the grant from Wokingham United Charities is just the latest answer!
It had become clear, as we set out to seek what God would have us do, that Woosehill Church didn’t have the manpower or finances to undertake grandiose schemes to reach out to build community here on Woosehill. We had to think in terms of working with other people and organisations. “Bring the people you want us to work with into our lives and enable us to be channels of your love in our community,” we prayed daily. This was another prayer that would be answered – in unplanned and unexpected ways!
“If you were isolated or lonely”, a group of Church ladies were asked, “what would you like to have available” A few ideas were floated, then one lady said “I’d like to sing” That germ of an idea took root, and resulted in Sing Something Simple
Shortly afterwards we set up a knit and natter group, Wool With A Mission, to reach out to lonely or isolated people. At one session someone just happened to mention First Days – a charity that provides clothing and other necessities for local children in need. Wool With A Mission and First Days have now teamed up – and we are knitting and crocheting for local children in need. Just in the past few days, three new ladies have made contact, having spotted a post on Facebook. “Bring the people you want us to work with into our lives and enable us to be channels of your love in our community,”
Woosehill Watercolour is the result of an overheard conversation one morning after the service. Sue Smith, a watercolour teacher at Bracknell College just happened to be talking about how she goes into old people’s homes to do simple painting with the residents. Would she be willing to head up a watercolour group for PMC? Yes she would! Another answer to the prayer: “Bring the people you want us to work with into our lives”
We’ve been trialling Woosehill Watercolour for a few months now, but we needed to buy some art materials before we could launch and publicise the group. We wanted to ensure that people who had no paints and brushes of their own could have a go. We estimated that to buy enough materials for ten people would cost around £500!
I was talking about this, again after a service, when a lady from Woosehill Church, Jo Cullinane joined us mid-conversation. “Do you know that Wokingham United Charities are looking to give money to people who are working for the lonely and isolated?” Jo asked. Just a couple of months later we received the email from them. “The trustees of Wokingham United Charities are pleased to inform you (Woosehill Church) that your recent grant application has been successful and you have awarded a grant towards the cost of art materials for the new Art Group”
For the past two years our e-prayer group has been praying “Give us stories to tell of how you ‘show up’ – how you guide and provide – stories that make us excited and want to tell people about you so that they, too, may be drawn to you.”