Update – July 2015

Notes from Operation Christian Welcome Meeting

Tuesday 14th July 2015 at Southgate Methodist Church, Elland

A review of the meal on 16th May was held. The main points are below:

Positives

  • Approximately 25 guests attended the lunch
  • the vast majority of whom came via the Foodbank in Halifax.
  • This was an increase from those who attended in December.
  • Those who attended very much enjoyed the food and the fellowship.

Negatives

  • The low numbers attending.
  • None of the guests were from our own local community of Elland
  • Our seeming inability to make contact with the needy in our own community, when as Church members we are aware of need on our own doorsteps.

Future Direction

Taking into account the areas of concern which were identified under our review of the last event it was agreed that at this stage another “full meal” type event was probably not needed and that another type of event should organised.   It was also noted that only organising occasional events was probably not the way to succeed.  Equally, to hold regular events was not a possibility at the present as the pool of volunteers was relatively small.

It was decided that the best way forward at this stage, as there is still a great need in the Elland community, was to organise a soup and sandwich type meal, if was felt it may be more in line with the needs of the community.   It was also agreed to initially organise 3 such events to try and establish some regular pattern.  Only providing soup and sandwiches requires less manpower and may help with the issue of a relatively small pool of volunteers.

Some of those present shared with the meeting their professional experience of working with the needy and suggested the best time to arrange an event would be early Friday evening, a day when many people find themselves too financially stretched to provide food for themselves.  The dates agreed on are set out below.

Christmas Event

The vision of providing a Christmas event with food and Father Christmas for families is to be pursued.   Further planning and discussion to be held in September (See dates below.)

Elland Churches Together

Operation Christian Welcome, although initially coming out of a vision from members at Southgate, is very much an ecumenical project and most definitely not just Methodist.   It was brought to the attention of the meeting that concern was expressed by a member of the clergy at the recent AGM of Churches Together that little information was known about the project.  One present at the meeting advised that she was able to brief the AGM about the current situation and our hopes for the future.

Finance

The project so far has been financed by generous donations from the members of Southgate and Bethesda Churches.   After holding two events we still have finance in hand to be able to pay for the soup and sandwiches events.   Further appeals for donations to be put on Church notices to keep funds topped up and build up a reserve for a Christmas event which could be costly.

Future Dates   (All events at Southgate)

(events are currently being held at Southgate due to the excellent resources there and to establish a pattern with our guests – it is hoped that we will eventually be able to expand events to other places of worship/buildings around Elland and beyond……)

Sunday 30th August   12 noon (after morning service) Planning meeting for Soup &    Sandwiches event

Friday 25th September   6.00 to 8.00pm Soup and Sandwiches meal

Friday 25th September   8.15pm Planning meeting for Christmas event

Friday 23rd October       6.00pm   Soup and Sandwiches meal

Friday 20th November  6.00pm Soup and Sandwiches meal

Tuesday 29th December Christmas event (provisionally 12 noon to 4.00pm)

Update – January 2015

Following a review of the Community Meal which was held on December 29th, the project has been renamed ‘Operation Christian Welcome – Elland’

The next OCWE Event is another Community Meal to be held on Saturday 16th May 2015.

OPERATION CHRISTMAS WELCOME (ELLAND)

To the members and friends of the Churches of Elland

Dear Friends,

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:

1     PRAYER

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.

2     PEOPLE

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.

3     PROVISIONS

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)