To the members and friends of the Churches of Elland
In the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament it says “where there is no vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29 v18). We want to share with you a vision that initially came from a member of the Southgate Methodist Church but is for all Christians here in Elland to share in.
It is a vision of providing a Christmas meal for those in need in the 25-50 age bracket, over the festive period as a way of showing the community of Elland the Gospel of Jesus Christ in action in a practical way. This is the age group that are not generally represented in our Churches. After much prayerful thought it has been agreed that it will take place in the afternoon of Monday 29thDecember using the facilities at Southgate Methodist Church. We stress this is not a Southgate project or even a Methodist project but is an opportunity for all Christians of all denominations in Elland to come and share and work together.
A very small initial steering group has been formed to start to turn the vision in to reality and we are writing to you to ask for your support of this project. There are 3 very distinct areas where we need your help:
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Paul reminds us to “pray continually”. Praying is one of the most important things we can do and the starting point for all we try and do in God’s name. We invite your prayers for this project; for the people who will be involved in it, for those who will receive our Christian hospitality, for the plans that are being made and for the preparations that will take place. We appreciate that many of you cannot be physically involved in the project but your prayers will be just as valuable to us.
One of the keys’ to success will be having sufficient people willing to give up their time to help. There will be many areas where we need people to help. Such as: catering, washing up, waiting on at table, a welcome team, help setting up and clearing away, a prayer team and perhaps other areas as well. Have you got skills in some of these key areas or simply feel called to come and help? You will be very welcome.
The project is going to offer a traditional Christmas meal to our guests and to do that we need the provisions to put on the table. So we are appealing for either food, and we will be circulating a list of what is needed nearer the time; or donations of money to enable us to go out to purchase what we require. We appreciate that we are living in very difficult financial times at the moment but all gifts, small or large, will be very greatly appreciated.
There will be an open meeting for anybody who is interested in the project on Friday 28th November at 7.30pm in the Langdale Room at Southgate. On that night we are hopeful of having a speaker from the New Ebenezer project in Halifax, where they provide a meal on Christmas Day, who will share their experience and knowledge with us.
If you would like to volunteer, or offer donations or simply want further information, then please do not hesitate to contact us.
There is a powerful reminder in Matthew 25 about looking after those members of our community who are in need of our support when Jesus said, “what you do for the least of these members of my family you do also for me”. Read the whole passage from verses 31-48. Living up to the challenge of those words in Matthew’s gospel is something that the Church community in Elland and we as individual Christians need to take very seriously, to take that step of faith as part of our response to the God who calls us all to serve him.
We look forward to your support.
With all good wishes,
Operation Christmas Welcome
(Rev. Colin Sherwood, Chris Partington, Andrew Jacobs and Christine Shaw)