Our Ethos at Given Freely Freely Given

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Given freely Freely given Our Ethos Since we opened on 17th March 2015 out faith has in uenced how we have developed and grown. It has also shaped our values and how we treat people. These are some of the key Bible passages that have helped us and de ne us. I’ve added some commentary to explain how each passage has in uenced and shaped us and then some key points in our behaviour that arise for this is understanding. Together they explain our ongoing ethos for the project.

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THE PARABLES OF THE MUSTARD SEED AND THE YEAST He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his eld. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

In 2014 through pray and prophecy the Church Council discerned we were called to plant a mustard seed. We thought we knew what we were doing but had only a glimpse of God’s plan. We opened a coffee shop on 17th March 2015 with an intended audience of people attending the two large local health centres and three pharmacies on Tuesday mornings. We acquired odd bits of nice China, had lovely tea and coffee and even home made cakes. It was beautifully set out but no one came. After three weeks and much advertising, we decided it make it all free to attract custom and get us started. Six people came all whom you could describe and from the margins and this became what happened, for the next 18 months we grew slowly but had a steady number of regulars each week and we learned a lot.

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In response to rising hunger in people attending we started a small food bank in September 2016. People donated toiletries as well. In response to inadequately clothed people we opened a small clothes bank in January 2017. We soon added beddings and towels. Kettles and toasters followed soon after. Numbers of people attending continued to grow and we were sustained by donations so we could maintain everything would be free. Volunteer number s also grew. In April 2017 the name Given Freely Freely Given was conceived. The mustard seed had well and truly germinated and grown and the branches were full with people. In March 2019 as we faced the pandemic and could not function as we had so we decided to try and open just the food and toiletry bank four mornings a week. Numbers attend grew rapidly and as regulations permitted we reopened the banks gradually and MultiBank was born. Only God could have conceived where we are now 1.

We try to discern were God is taking us next, considering and testing the most unlikely of projects

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Jesus Feeds Five Thousand When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw this large crowd, and his heart was lled with pity for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things. When it was getting late, his disciples came to him and said, “It is already very late, and this is a lonely place. Send the people away, and let them go to the nearby farms and villages in order to buy themselves something to eat.” “You yourselves give them something to eat,” Jesus answered. They asked, “Do you want us to go and spend two hundred silver coins on bread in order to feed them?” So Jesus asked them, “How much bread do you have? Go and see.” When they found out, they told him, “Five loaves and also two sh.” Jesus then told his disciples to make all the people divide into groups and sit down on the green grass. So the people sat down in rows, in groups of a hundred and groups of fty. Then Jesus took the ve loaves and the two sh, looked up to heaven, and gave thanks to God. He broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples

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The disciples rst response is a very human one to manage a crisis. We cannot cope! It cannot be our responsibility to feed these people, why come all this way without food for yourself or you family? Let them use their own resources to find food.

In many ways this can be an individuals reaction to poverty today. What can I do about this? It’s their fault they are poor, why don’t their get a job. If you cannot feed your children then don’t get pregnant. Why come to this country and then expect us tax payers to feed you? These and many other comments are ones you will hear people say.

Jesus’s response is to believe the impossible, it is a response of hope, faith and love.

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to distribute to the people. He also divided the two sh among them all. Everyone ate and had enough. Then the disciples took up twelve baskets full of what was left of the bread and the sh. The number of men who were fed was ve thousand


1. First is love. Jesus starts from a position that we can and must do something, it is what God wants us to do. This group of people deserve to be helped whatever their circumstance. Yes we we all make bad choices and they have come all this way to listen to Jesus with no food. They did not plan to do it, it just happened. Likewise no one plans to be poor. No one sets out to live on the streets. No one seeks to be destitute. So we must also do the same and welcome everyone, on one is undeserving, let’s assume honesty, and offer help 2. Next comes hope. Let’s start my hoping we can do something. So we sends the disciples to nd out what we have to share. Jesus also organises everyone into groups. So we also need to be organised not just expect God to act but be prepared and ready when God acts. Let’s also look to see what we are starting with, what are our loaves and shes? We start with a building at the Center of the community which has the potential to be a exible space. We start with other people who are prepared to hope, prepared to help

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3. Next comes faith, Jesus expects God to act. Jesus expects the miraculous and he feeds 5000 Men plus the women and children who have also travelled with the men. So we also need to expect the miraculous, we need to expect that God will act. What seems impossible by human standards is possible if it is the will of God. If we act in unison with God seeking His will for our community we will see his actions taking shape and things that seemed impossible occurring. So the key points we take from this are: 1. everyone is welcome 2. on one is undeserving, 3. assume honesty 4. Be organised 5. What resources do we start with 6. Expect the impossible to happen Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him: “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with

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food.” So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of our in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But rst make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of our will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of our was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

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There are challenging times in the land with a lack of rain and a mother is gathering sticks to have a nal meal with her son before preparing to die from hunger. What a grim story which thankfully has a better ending due to God’s intervention. The miracle of renewability! The food never runs out even when it looks an impossible situation. We have learned that resources never run out, somewhere there are donations waiting to be given, that’s why we constantly seek out donations. We also try to listen carefully to what God is telling us do. Sometimes that means we have to let go of a good idea because it is not a God idea. We will also meet people like the woman in this story who is tired and afraid and has given up. We must be prepared to encourage and also alley people’s fear So the key points we take from this are: 7. The jar never runs out. 8. We seek God ideas not good ideas 9. Expect to meet people who are afraid and do not expect to be helped

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Luke 12:16-21 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

It is very human when there is an excess of a donations to hoard, just in case, to keep something back for tomorrow, rather than relying on God to provide. It is the mentality of saving for a rainy day when there is a storm raging outside. So we are never afraid to give out everything because more will arrive, either through money to plug donation gaps or donations will arrive. So we never build barns to store donations. Yes we are organised to receive donations but we don’t seek

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sustainability by storing supplies. We give out what we receive, relaying that more will be provided to keep us sustainable. We need to know when to say no to donations when we have plenty. The next reading reminds us that although we don’t hoard like the rich man in the last reading, we do organise ourselves with good suf cient storage spaces so that when people are in need we can help. The motivation in the last reading was to gather wealth for oneself. The motivation in the following reading is to provide for those in need. So we say 10. we build silos not barns. Joseph in Charge of Egypt Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the

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elds surrounding it. Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure. Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Joseph named his rstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.” When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.


Exodus 16 - The Message Translation The whole company of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron there in the wilderness. The Israelites said, “Why didn’t God let us die in comfort in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat? You’ve brought us out into this wilderness to starve us to death, the whole company of Israel!” God said to Moses, “I’m going to rain bread down from the skies for you. The people will go out and gather each day’s ration. I’m going to test them to see if they’ll live according to my Teaching or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have gathered, it will turn out to be twice as much as their daily ration.” That evening quail ew in and covered the camp and in the morning there was a layer of dew all over the camp. When the layer of dew had lifted, there on the wilderness ground was a ne aky something, ne as frost on the ground. The Israelites took one look and said to one another, man-hu (What is it?). They had no idea what it was. So Moses told them, “It’s the bread God has given you to eat. And these are God’s

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instructions: ‘Gather enough for each person, about two quarts per person; gather enough for everyone in your tent.’” The People of Israel went to work and started gathering, some more, some less, but when they measured out what they had gathered, those who gathered more had no extra and those who gathered less weren’t short—each person had gathered as much as was needed. Moses said to them, “Don’t leave any of it until morning.” But they didn’t listen to Moses. A few of the men kept back some of it until morning. It got wormy and smelled bad.

It can be so easy to forget what God has done and remember the past with rose tinted spectacles. God even listens to our our moans and groans and even comes up with solutions that we could imagine. The Israelites could never have even conceived the daily heaven sent provision of food. Even then greed overcomes some and they try to hoard God’s provision instead of believing and trusting in God’s provision that there will be enough

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So we remember 11. God’s solutions are bigger and better than we can imagine 12. God provides - more food will arrive 13. There is no need for big barns to store food as more will arrive - hoarding is not necessary. 14. Some will take too much but they will not benefit from it

LEGION You have searched me and you know m When I was thrown away, discarde Disregarded by society My heart hot within me Shunned with the stigma of shame Blamed as a cursed name You searched me, you found me In the quicksand of evil You were the quiet, still whispe In the madness of voice Within and around me Within my homeless soul My broken mind The holy of holies skirted b With lowered eye And through the chatter of demon

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They whispered “unclean” with boastful mouth And washed hands Hungry, they gave me poison Thirsty, they offered vinegar instead Religion is not for the dead They said Are the dead able to praise You know my ways You know my thoughts Counted my days My heart did not fear You came and stood near me Crossing the barrie Into my ow Discomfort zone, wit “What is your name? “Legion,” they answere “Legion,” they lie “Legion,” they goade “Legion!” they cried Legion, my label, for better or worse Legion, my shado Legion, my curs But you have searched and known m You know me, you know what is not me You glimpsed a creation buried withi

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And saw it was good though tarnished by sin Beneath my poor image, infecte By the truth and the rumour The stone they rejected Deep in my self, in the rot of my soul My whole being knew, from the moment you saw m That you, only you could fully restore me Only you saw the promise When no-one else coul You saw your creation Saw a man torn and broken by voice And wrong choices and whispering demon Saw a man chained to hel And ignored by believer Stained by reputatio You saw your creatio When no-one else coul You spoke with compassio When no-one else would You saw your creation And saw it was goo Downloaded from www.theworshipcloud.com Based on an incident when Jesus came across a man chained up for his and everyone else’s safety. Jesus didn’t dismiss him as a hopeless

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case but approached him and spoke to him. Jesus cures him.

We deliberately set out to engage with the Lost the Least the Last the Lame the Late So we will come across people who have a variety of shades of interesting behaviour. We need to be prepared to step outside our comfort zone. We are not Jesus we do need to remain safe and also know we are here to help but not cross professional boundaries into health care. Sometimes we need to call the police and sometimes we need to refer people to more specialist help. Frequently we have to engage with the injustice and predjustices in our society and argue for change. So we remember 15. We will encounter people with radically different lifestyles from ourselves 16. Engaging with a range of agencies is vital to provide help and change. Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet It was just before the Passover Festival. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the

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Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had nished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and

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rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

On the night before he is executed Jesus tells his disciples to remember him through bread and wine. He also gives them a lasting example about being servants. Astonishingly he washes Judas’s feet even though Jesus knows he will betray him. We are betrayed by some who come to us by their lies and deceit but we still forgive and help. We do occasionally have to ban people for short times and yes we do deny entry in some cases but this is always for the wider safety of all. So we remember: 17. We serve betrayers, 18. We serve each other, 19. There is no hierarchy of tasks 20. Discipline is laced with forgiveness

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