Jesus Centres Review
A look at the work of the Jesus Centres over the past few years
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JESUS CENTRES worship • friendship • help for all
WHAT ARE JESUS CENTRES? Places where the love of Jesus is expressed daily in worship, care and friendship for every type of person. WHAT DO THEY OFFER? All sorts, including showers, friendship, a listening ear, IT classes and food. They also act as a ‘gateway’ to other services and agencies.
CONTENTS This review features past articles from Jesus Life magazine.
03 - NEW TO UK
At London Jesus Centre, Sue Withers on teaching English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).
05 - MAKING IT WORK Support groups at the Jesus Centres.
07 - ROUGH WITH THE SMOOTH
Piers Young on the highs and lows of working at the Coventry Jesus Centre.
10 - A CASE OF CHANGED IDENTITY Laurence Cooper on two changed lives and a kitchen sink.
WHO RUNS THEM? The Jesus Army Charitable Trust (JACT). Staff and volunteers come from Jesus Fellowship Church.
13 - ACTS TODAY
WHERE ARE THEY? There are Jesus Centres in Coventry, London, Northampton and Sheffield with one planned for Birmingham in the near future, with vision for further locations.
Viv Callard reports on the progress toward opening a fourth Jesus Centre, in Sheffield.
HOW CAN I HELP? We always need money, old clothes, food and lots more! Check out the website for details. MORE INFO: www.jesuscentres.org.uk
Trainee journalist Sam Hailes spent a day at London Jesus Centre. He described what he found there as “like the early Christians”.
16 - FULL STEAM AHEAD 18 - THE POOR
Coventry Jesus Centre Open Day poetry competition - the winning poem.
19 - LOVE IS SPELT SOCKS
Filmmaker, Aidan Ashby, writes what his camera saw: the moving story of Sid Elliott’s journey from homelessness and addiction to faith and freedom through the work of the Northampton Jesus Centre.
22 - WHO’S AT THE JESUS CENTRES Meet some of the people you might bump into at London, Coventry and Northampton Jesus Centres.
© 2012 Jesus Fellowship Church, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3LB, UK. Reproduction in any form requires written permission. Photographs in this magazine are copyright Jesus Fellowship Church unless otherwise noted. The Jesus Fellowship is part of Multiply Christian Network. Both the Jesus Fellowship and Multiply Christian Network are members of the Evangelical Alliance UK. Jesus Army Charitable Trust is a Registered Charity. Number 1091912.
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New to the UK
At London Jesus Centre, Sue Withers teaches English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and leads a support group for people newly arrived in the UK. FEEL like I am in prison,” said our asylum seeker friend. Settling into the UK can be a difficult process of trying to find basic amenities and often the right to remain in an unfamiliar and often unfriendly environment. Economic migrants and students similarly struggle with language difficulties, getting suitable accommodation and, most importantly, finding a friend. The “New to UK” project at London Jesus Centre is providing practical help and support to these migrants with immigration advice, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and conversation classes and other practical help and friendship.
was: “An angel?” we wondered. Lin enjoyed her time with us over the month she stayed here. She was as keen to learn about Christianity as she was to learn English. When she had to return to Japan, she asked if we could find a church like this for her in Tokyo and we were able to put her in touch with Momoko, a Christian we know there.
from Japan was brought to the Jesus Centre by a lady in Chinatown, to learn English. Afterwards, no-one could ever find out who the lady www.jesuscentres.org.uk
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An ESOL class at London Jesus Centre Jesus Centres Review 3
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was a teacher in her native Rwanda. She has been in the UK for ten years, and helps in the ESOL class as a classroom assistant to regain confidence in her teaching role.
from Ecuador and from Spain have become friends since they met at the Jesus Centre. They both attend conversation classes to improve their spoken English and have particularly enjoyed making friends with people from different nations. Ivan is here to support his family, because his youngest brother’s disability has caused a lot of stress and hardship in the family. Having the support of friends, as well as help with getting a job has meant a lot to him: “People here are approachable and open. My self-esteem is very good now because I started to work part time. When I came here it was very difficult because I didn’t understand. I had a fear of speaking English but now I say ‘no more fear’.”
comes from North East China and is here for a year to study English language and literature. Passing the Jesus Centre in November, she saw the sign advertising English classes. She started coming on Fridays to improve her spoken English, and appreciated the friendship and support:
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“I found many things different from China. I didn’t have much contact with people in England. When I came here I found my accommodation wasn’t as good as it said on the internet. I was a stranger; it was so hard. You helped me a lot.” Since Mei Ling’s mother in China had became a Christian, Mei Ling had been interested in finding out more about Christianity. She had visited various churches, but not found home there. Over Christmas time, Mei Ling stayed in the Jesus Fellowship’s Christian community, based in the same building as the Jesus Centre. She describes an experience of God she had at New Year: “We were praying to welcome the New Year. I closed my eyes to follow the prayers and I felt a light coming into my mind. I wanted to be a Christian. A leader, Steve, came over to me and said “New Year, New Life”. A few days later, at the big Jesus Fellowship New Year Celebration in Northampton, Mei Ling prayed to accept Jesus into her life. She was baptised in February. Now Mei Ling volunteers in the Jesus Centre’s tearoom and is taking strong steps forward as a Christian.
From weight loss classes to immigration services, from supporting those bereaved by suicide, to a group for fathers who have trouble accessing their children, the support groups that are running in London, Northampton and Coventry Jesus Centres are all part of the Centres’ vision to provide “worship, friendship and help for every kind of person.” “People just need to know that someone else understands,” says Piers Young, manager of Coventry Jesus Centre. “With support groups we can link up people with the same problems, to listen to each other and give mutual support. It can make a big difference. We’ve seen it.” Continued overleaf
“MAKING IT WORK,” is a relatively new job-search support group at the London Jesus Centre. It has been running for over nine months, during which Alison Moore, who runs it, has seen over 50 different people who are having difficulty finding work. It runs every Thursday by appointment, from 8.30am–3.30pm. She helps them to put together their CVs, helps with interview skills, gives employment advice, searches for jobs with them, makes phone calls to employers and, as she puts it, “I do a lot of chatting, praying, solving problems, laughing, crying and drinking tea.” “My Spanish has improved!” laughs Alison, “And I’ve learnt about helping migrant workers to find jobs and a lot about the local labour market.” As a result of Alison’s service, 20 people have found jobs (five of them have been offered two!) She has even managed to get herself a new job as part of the government’s upcoming Future Jobs Fund for 18–25 year olds, on top of the “Making it work” group. www.jesuscentres.org.uk
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I do a lot of chatting, praying, solving problems, laughing, crying and drinking tea
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Coventry Andy (second from right) runs ‘Habit Breaker’ at the Coventry Jesus Centre
Northampton s s
Continued from previous page THE INSPIRATION behind “Habit breaker,” a support group at Coventry Jesus Centre, lies with Jackie Pullinger. A missionary to Hong Kong, her methods of dealing with the addictions that she found in the Walled City were rooted in the power of the Holy Spirit. Many men and women were freed from the power of addiction as she led them to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Andy Crisp, co-leader of “Habit breaker”, says, “If it can happen in Hong Kong, why shouldn’t it happen here?” Along with Rune Carlberg, an ex-alcoholic who has known healing from his addictions, Andy decided to create “Habit breaker.” It usually happens on Wednesday afternoons and takes the form of a seven-session course covering foundational Christian truths through to water baptism and the power of the Holy Spirit. “Habit-breaker” has been running three years now, and it has definitely made an impact. Everyone who has been on the course has also been involved in other Jesus Centre activities. Nearly all of them have found faith in God and been baptised – there have been no dramatic changes, but through an atmosphere of love and being involved in a ‘spiritual family’ in church, people have been able to gradually break out of their old habits. Although it consists of only seven sessions at a time, “Habit breaker” continues to offer a level of support to its members through the friendships that are formed and the various Jesus Fellowship meetings nearby. Pete went to “Habit breaker” after years of trying to rid himself of an alcohol habit. “I thought I’d give it a go,” he explains, “And it worked. I finished the course and finally beat alcoholism, through faith in God. I would recommend it to anyone with an addiction, or even an addictive personality.” “Personally, I’ve never even smoked a cigarette!” laughs Andy, “But I know that Jesus has the power to set people free, and we’re seeing the reality of that.”
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“MONEY WORRIES” is a support group that has been running for five years at the Northampton Jesus Centre. It is an appointment-based group, aimed at people who have financial problems. Nine people are trained up to give all kinds of financial assistance. Their services include budgeting, debt and benefits help. The recession has caused a lot of insecurity and uncertainty, so this free service has proven very successful. “Debts enslave people; we need to help them out,” says Clive Millman, one of the volunteers who runs “Money Worries”. “Sometimes people can’t see the way out of the situation that they are in, and we help them to see a way forward. Helping to smooth out someone’s money worries goes a long way to helping them to get their life in order.” “One guy who started coming along to this support group used to be a Christian, but had become disillusioned with it” says Clive. “The practical, friendly approach of “Money worries” when he needed it was enough to rekindle his faith again. He’s started to go to church again – and he has paid almost all of his debts off.”
ROUGH with the BLOG
Coventry Jesus Centre manager, Piers Young on the highs and lows of life serving Jesus on the front line.
NCIDENT report, 10 March. People involved: Visitor A (letâ€™s call him Alf); Visitor B (letâ€™s call him Bill); Rob (staff); Anne-Marie (volunteer receptionist). What happened: Alf was using a PC. He went to the toilet and Bill sat down at the
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Then he put his head round the door and said “F***ing Jesus”
THE ROUGH Continued from previous page
PC and started using it. Alf came back and complained. Bill answered back; an argument ensued. Both went to the reception window and carried on and Anne-Marie was a bit freaked out. Rob was nearby and he said to Bill, “You didn’t book in for the PC and you haven’t given your name.” Bill said, “You know my name.” Rob said, “You haven’t given your name.” Bill became abusive (F-words and so on) and went out. Then he put his head round the door and said “F***ing Jesus”. Later he came back in and sat at a PC again. Rob went and asked him to book in. He left (“F*** you”).
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Alf did not lose it at all. Action later: Bill banned for one month. The aftermath was that Bill came back in today and went into the drop-in, where someone realised that he was banned and took him outside. He declined to take his ban letter or to leave. I was told and went down, ready to tell him once and then call the police, which usually works, and he went without much protest. Alf, by the way, had been a mercenary soldier, and was very restrained. He is softening a lot these days, having been a very rough character. Bill may come back in a month. We’ll see. www.jesuscentres.org.uk www.jesuscentres.org.uk
READ PIERSâ€™ COVENTRY JESUS CENTRE BLOG: pierscjc.blogspot.com
The tables were spread, candles lit, thanks and intro given, and the feast began. The
Last week on Monday we had our annual volunteer and staff event, to big up our team and thank God for all that has been achieved in the past year. Nick (not a volunteer) volunteered to cook a meal and produced a quality spread that day. He had a team of half a dozen young helpers as waiters and waitresses and cleaner-uppers. The tables were spread, candles lit, thanks and intro given, and the feast began. After the meal we had 20 minutes of a Planet Earth video: mountain beauty, eagles, pandas, and pathos. (The usual technical hitches were narrowly averted by our technical assistants, Helen and Simon.) After that Gillian, our volunteer volunteer coordinator (yes, thatâ€™s right), gave out certificates of achievement to all www.jesuscentres.org.uk www.jesuscentres.org.uk
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volunteers present, by role: cleaners, cafe helpers, kitchen crew, leaders of services: Mums & Toddlers, Your Space, Your Art, Your Future, Anger Management, Dads-4-kids, Re-Cycle, Allotment, Guitar Class, Habit Breaker, Alcohol Free, Your Weight, Live at the Well, Home Education and Talk English, plus those doing Maintenance, Admin, Technical Support, Reception, The Bridge, and committee members. Quite a roll of honour. Finally, we thanked God and worshipped. It all went smoothly and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Forty-two volunteers, eight staff, one trustee, eight non-volunteers, 10 helpers. Thank You Lord. Alf was helping to set up a room today. Maybe Bill will make it to be a volunteer one day, too. Jesus Centres Review 9 Jesus Life 9
A CASE OF CHANGED IDENTITY Laurence Cooper on two changed lives and a kitchen sink
Y FRIEND Dave works in the kitchen at one of our Jesus Centres. When he’s not making breakfasts for the many homeless and disadvantaged people who come into the centre, Dave is also their sometime counsellor, occasional medic and – always – their good friend. But Dave didn’t always do this sort of thing. At one time he had a very different sort of job. Some years back he was an altogether different kind of character. A few months ago a chap called Will came to work Laurence is a leader in the Jesus with Dave, helping him to cook, wash up and generally Fellowship as well as a volunteer run the busy kitchen. Will is a Christian, interested in and fundraiser for Coventry Jesus the work of the Jesus Centre, wanting to play his part. Centre. Dave had a funny feeling that he knew Will, but READ HIS BLOG: couldn’t quite place him. A vague sense of familiarity, laurencecooper.wordpress.com but he shrugged it off. After a while, however, Dave
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Below and overleaf: life, love and laughter at the Jesus Centres
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thought, “Why not? – I’ll ask him.” “Will, do you know me?” Dave said. “Yes,” said Will, “but I don’t want to tell you why because it might sour our relationship. I think you might be really angry with me.” “Look,” said Dave, “I’m a Christian now. My past life is done with, I’m a changed person and I’m completely happy to forgive you any wrong you might have done me in the past; don’t worry about it at all.” Will still hesitated – but at last the story came out. Will had been a policeman. In fact, he’d been in a serious crime unit. His team had worked with Interpol, tracing the movements of criminals around the world. They’d been looking for an LSD factory that they knew existed somewhere in Europe. It was producing many gallons – and millions of pounds’ worth – of liquid hallucinogen. For a time they had combed Amsterdam thinking it was there, but at length their search brought them back into the UK and the depths of the English countryside. There they had discovered Dave’s big drug factory. For a long time they watched, making careful note of every movement, every shipment, every deal. When the operation was complete, they had arrested Dave and Will had given evidence against him. He had stood up in court to testify, and that is
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So former peeler and former dealer find fellowship together at the kitchen sink in the Jesus Centre where Dave had seen him before. Dave had done a fair bit of time in prison as a result of that trial. The serious crime unit had got him, bang to rights, and Dave had a large debt to pay back to society as a result. Now for some people this revelation might have brought an element of strain into their relationship. Not so for Dave and Will. Since he became a Christian, Dave has found a whole new identity – a new way of living. His former criminal ways are history. His heart has changed. In fact, both former policeman and criminal have found equality before God: both know their need of God’s mercy and love. There’s no place for bitterness and resentment. So former peeler and former dealer find fellowship together at the kitchen sink in the Jesus Centre. They have found a shared purpose as well, in reaching out and serving those who Jesus cares for. They’re no longer foes – they’re bros. www.jesuscentres.org.uk
Acts today Trainee journalist Sam Hailes spent a day at London Jesus Centre. He described what he found there as “like the early Christians”.
OME THINGS never change.” Although such a phrase often has negative connotations, it can be good to have some stability in an otherwise changing world. Whether it’s the taste of Coca-Cola or the cycle of the four seasons, we can all think of things that we enjoy just the way they are. Most importantly, we know that God and His truth never change. But 2,000 years after Jesus began his
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worldwide movement, the Church, the world is a completely different place. Is it still possible to live like those early Christians did? Tucked away behind Oxford Street, lives a community of Christians who are proving the answer to that question is a resounding “yes!” As I arrived at the Jesus Centre one cold winter morning, I was greeted by Centre Manager, Rob Bentley, and shown around. The first thing that strikes you is the sheer size of the property. The grade-two, listed building used to be a convent – and still contains a magnificent chapel where 120 people gather every Sunday to worship. To my surprise, I discover 30 people live in the building and share everything from meals to chores. I ask Rob what it is
like to live in such a unique community. “The dynamic of people pooling their resources and living together is amazing,” he says. “Like a lot of people when they come across the church, there’s a sense of ‘I’ve come home’. Yet there’s no way such a mixed group of people could hang together except through God.” But living together is only a small part of what happens at the Jesus Centre. Every weekday the Centre is open to the homeless. Around 50 people visit the Centre each day and are provided with showers, cheap clothing and free food and drink. Rob tells me, “There are more rough sleepers in central London than the rest of the country put together.” Statistics show that after six months on the street many homeless people begin to suffer from mental illness. “We help a lot of people who wouldn’t get any help except for the
to my surprise I discover 30 people live in the building and share everything from meals to chores
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voluntary sector,” he adds. Although the staff and volunteers are all clear on the Christian motivation for their work, the gospel is never forced on people. Over the last two and a half years, Rob and his team have built a friendly atmosphere where people of all backgrounds and beliefs are welcomed and provided for. “It’s our desire that as many people as possible come to know Jesus, but while people are perfectly clear where we are coming from, we are happy to help anybody.” Rob says. “If people raise religious issues we are happy to talk about it, but only if they give permission – it’s not a condition of them getting help.” The Centre is equipped with a number of classrooms where people can partake in courses ranging from basic IT skills to learning English as a foreign language. Rob and his team also offer help with breaking bad habits and addictions. Not only that, but the Centre contains a tearoom, a quiet room, a lounge and even an arts and craft room. Many of these rooms are hired out in the evenings to local community groups with the profit invested back into their ministry to the poor. Since the Centre opened three years ago, it has enjoyed donations of clothes www.jesuscentres.org.uk
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there are more rough sleepers in central London than the rest of the country put together for the homeless from United Colours of Benetton and John Lewis, shower gel and shampoo from The Body Shop and Lush and even cafe furniture from a local Costa. In fact, every computer in the building has been donated! Rob says the main aim of London’s Jesus Centre is to extend the availability of church throughout the week: “Our aim is to reach a wider range of people and to make an increasing impact in the local area.” As somebody previously unfamiliar with the work of the Jesus Army and their Centres, I left London Jesus Centre inspired and with Luke’s words in Acts chapter two ringing in my head. Surely, they sum up the Jesus Centre’s work perfectly: “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”
Sam is a third-year Journalism student studying in Southampton. He is co-president of the Christian Union. READ HIS BLOG: holymansam.wordpress.com Jesus Jesus Centres Centres Review Review 15 15
FULL STEAM AHEAD IN SHEFFIELD
The cross at the Sheffield Jesus Centre
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Viv Callard reports on the progress toward opening a fourth Jesus Centre, in Sheffield.
ORK steams ahead on the Sheffield Jesus Centre! Despite a number of setbacks and delays (the snow over Christmas included), the contractors should be handing over the completed site to the local congregation in the summer. Then it will be all hands on deck for wheeling in the office chairs and arranging desks and filing cabinets, stocking up the freezers for the café, making sure there’s an adequate supply of paper clips on the help desk and so on. The excitement is growing, and people are seeing where they fit in, and working through the details of services on offer. More importantly though, we’re allowing it to intrude on our lives and we’re being a bit inconvenienced by it all - a sense of the project coming to land in our realities. Members of Jesus Fellowship Sheffield recently had a tour of the site (with full complement of hard hats and high-vis jackets), which helped gain a sense of ownership of the project. We’re thanking God for progress. A number of grants secured for renewable energy projects within the building: the southern roof of the main hall is well covered with solar panels, and we’re getting the windows of the hall replaced, too to keep the warmth (and sound) in. There’s a real sense of identity within the volunteer teams running the various services and good networking is opening up connections within the local community. We’re on target for capital funding. But there’s plenty we’re continuing to pray for – like protection for the contractors on site and that they’d finish the final stages of construction in good time. We need to source the scheduled equipment at good prices, or preferably as gifts in kind. And we – always – need good teamwork and communication among volunteers. Pray for us; it’s an adventure – and God is with us. www.jesuscentres.org.uk
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It’s an adventure – and God is with us Here’s what some Jesus Fellowship Sheffield members said: “I’ve been out of work from my main job for just over two years now, and although I’ve been doing a bit of cleaning, I’ve wanted to explore other interests. I’m looking forward to being involved, and I’m glad to see everybody’s pulling together.” – Mike Petherbridge “I didn’t really see that I’d have anything to do in the Jesus Centre, because I have four young children, but I’m getting envisioned to run a really good parents and tots group to include lots of people.” – Harriet Lane “I’ve been looking forward to working in the Jesus Centre as it gives me an opportunity to help people who need it.” – Colleen Jones “Many people in this community will get a lot of benefits from using this Centre.” – Jonny Crawford “I’m glad we don’t have to go to the other side of the world to be able to take part in mission – we can do it here where there’s spiritual poverty.” – Vicky Hadfield “Each person is able to find their place – being volunteers in the Jesus Centre, everyone is valued.” – Liz Whittington Viv is one of a rising generation of leaders in the Jesus Fellowship. An ICT wizard, he also plays guitar and cracks jokes. His big passion is to see people won for Jesus in Sheffield. Jesus Centres Review 17
N A recent Jesus Centre Open Day poetry competition, the challenge was to write a poem on the theme of “the poor”. This was the winning poem.
The Poor Poor old Poor little Poor dear thing Poor show Poor me Poorly feeling Rich cake Rich stew Rich an’ famous Rags to riches That’s rich, that is Keep up with the Joneses Blind rich Stinking rich Sinking while they sing on Blessed poor Simple poor Theirs is the kingdom
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LOVE IS SPELT SOCKS! Filmmaker Aidan Ashby writes what his camera saw: the moving story of Sid Elliott’s journey from homelessness and addiction to faith and freedom through the work of the Northampton Jesus Centre.
I, I’M SID and this is how socks changed my life.” Sid, sitting in front of us was recounting his life story to our camera. And it’s quite a story! My friend Richard King and I had been approached by Faithworks Northampton, part of a national network of churches aiming to resource and encourage community involvement between churches. They offered us an opportunity to showcase the work of the Northampton Jesus Centre (which is affiliated to Faithworks) through a YouTube video which they would promote. So we’d dragged ourselves out of bed at 5.15 that morning, aiming to catch the cold early morning sunlight on the empty streets of Northampton. We wanted to capture some footage to show Sid in his “old habitat” – the unforgiving streets he slept rough on before his journey took a turn for the better. Later, back at Sid’s house, his journey unfolded in front of our cameras.
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Sid started to drink, leading to an addiction that spiralled out of control
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Ten years ago Sid’s life was pretty well stitched together. He was the Head of Art and Deputy Director of a private school. But a bout of sickness led to redundancy. Sid started to drink, leading to an addiction that spiralled out of control, and that’s where things went badly downhill. His marriage suffered and the family fell apart, and soon he found himself drifting around England – and Europe – not knowing why or where he was going. Sid recounted how at one time he lived in a field for a month, though when he left it he had no awareness that a month had passed. Back from his European wanderings, Sid was sitting on a bench in his old home town of Northampton at two in the morning, in the rain, when he was approached by two lads with green jackets on that said “Jesus Army”. In Sid’s own words: “They came up and started talking to me. I said ‘As soon as you mention God I’m off’. So they sat down with me, and talked to me for a while, offered me a bed at their house (which I refused), and then gave me a couple of corned beef sandwiches and a cup of chicken soup. After about 35 minutes they did mention God, and I did get up and leave!” Fortunately, they had managed to tell him about the Jesus Centre, and the next morning he went along and met the volunteers working there. “I’d been a devout atheist,” Sid explains, “and nothing anyone could say could change my mind, but I was very touched by the kindness and the constant cups of tea and sandwiches and a shoulder to lean on and someone to listen.” This is where the socks come in to the story. Sid had left a bag of dirty washing with a volunteer at the Centre. When he came back the next day he opened the bag of clean washing, what touched him most was the way his socks had been folded – with such love and care that he nearly cried! www.jesuscentres.org.uk
No overnight transformation followed, however. As Sid told our rolling camera, there were many more bumps along the road. On one occasion, Sid – heavily drinking again – was wandering around Northampton when he met his son. Sid slurred a “Hello” – but when his son saw his can of beer he simply said “No, dad” and walked away. In Sid’s words: “At that point I decided that was it; I’d had just enough of life. I took my shoes and socks off, then my shirt, though it was pouring with rain, and decided I’d walk away and finish it.” But another “God moment” intervened for Sid. He felt a strong presence that said “No, it’s not time”, and found himself putting his shoes, socks and shirt back on. A short walk around the corner led him to one of our Fellowship houses. “I think that was the time that, having been an atheist and not understood what was going on in my life, all of a sudden my mind changed and I realised what was actually touching my heart.” Sid found God. Not long after that, Sid was baptised. It had been four years since Sid first set foot in the Jesus Centre. Moments like the “socks encounter” gave him hope; a hope he now shares with the hundreds of people he regularly helps at the Jesus Centre. Sid now does what people did for him, helping people with kindness, whether or not that involves folding socks. Sid’s poignant conclusion: “Love is just a word, but put into practice – i.e. the socks – it has a much more profound and powerful meaning.”
such love and care that he nearly cried www.jesuscentres.org.uk
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To watch the YouTube video ‘Socks’: jez.uz/socks Jesus Centres Review 21
Who’s at the
Meet some of the people you might bump into at London, Coventry and Northampton Jesus Centres.
Keith volunteer at Coventry Jesus Centre
Keith volunteers to run a workshop on bicycle repair called “Re-cycle” every other week. The idea is to train visitors in basic bicycle repair, while also making and repairing bicycles that are donated to the Jesus Centre. The bikes are either sold to raise money for the Jesus Centre or in some cases given completely free to people who cannot afford to buy one. The workshop was initially the idea of a visitor to “The Bridge” (Coventry Jesus Centre’s drop-in).
Francis volunteer at London Jesus Centre
Francis graduated from university with many plans for his life, but as a Christian, he wanted to know what God wanted for his life. Someone had prayed for him in a Christian meeting and told him that “he would do the Lord’s work”. Soon after this he kept seeing a Jesus Army minibus near his work. Deciding to find out more about who they were, Francis discovered they were based just next door to where he worked. He popped round to visit and was inspired – it was exactly what he was looking for. Francis now volunteers at the Centre, cooking for homeless people and building friendships with the people he serves.
Vicky admin assistant at Northampton Jesus Centre
Vicky first got involved with the Jesus Centre when it was just a small pilot project running from a shop. Off work due to sickness, she started volunteering at the centre in the café and info desk while also doing some administration work. She did this for almost four years and became more involved until one day she applied for a part-time administration job at the Centre – she was almost already completely trained for this, thanks to her experience of voluntary work. Vicky says working at the Centre has helped her overcome her sickness and find more faith as she is working among other Christians and seeing Jesus work through the Jesus Centre to help people.
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“an unmissable opportunity to show the love of Jesus Christ to people every day ...”
Peteatvisitor who became a volunteer Coventry Jesus Centre Pete first came to the Jesus Centre in Coventry over seven years ago with problems with alcoholism. People at the Jesus Centre helped him, and in 2008 he was baptised and became a member of the Jesus Fellowship. Pete now volunteers in the kitchen and the drop-in, helping people with problems like those he once had. Pete and his daughter love coming to the church’s meetings in the week and at weekends.
Didieratvisitor who became a volunteer London Jesus Centre Didier had been homeless for two months when a friend introduced him to the Jesus Centre. He visited, hoping for a wash and some food. He found a whole lot more: friendship and love. Didier started volunteering “to give something back”. Although initially he felt sceptical about Christianity, when he realised that he didn’t need to be “perfect” to be Christian, he found a faith of his own and was baptised. Now he runs ICT and web design courses at the Jesus Centre.
Gillian volunteer at Coventry Jesus Centre
Many over-65’s may feel the time has come to put their feet up and enjoy their retirement. But Gillian spends her Wednesday mornings volunteering on the Jesus Centre reception, welcoming and helping visitors to “The Bridge” drop-in. And on top of this she is also the volunteer coordinator for the centre, a vital administrative role.
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JESUS CENTRES worship • friendship • help for all
A review of the work of the Jesus Centres, featuring past articles from Jesus Life magazine. 24 Jesus Centres Review
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