for community groups to meet in – we housed the Tyne Trans group when it was first setting up and paid the rent on the church for Proud Northern Voices to get started. Now we host Rainbow Home once a month – our joint project with
MESMAC, to support LGBT folk who are seeking asylum in the UK.
Being the church for our community means that we are out and proud at key events in the life of our community – Pride, IDAHO, World AIDS day. Being the church for our community means that our community know that we are there for them and they can interact with us in a variety of ways. At Pride I chatted with someone. Later that week she contacted me through our Facebook page to say that she had listened to my sermon online and told me a bit about her own faith journey.
Being the church for our community means leaving the comfort of what we want from church, and listening hard to what our community needs from us. Jesus didn’t just sit in a room and wait for folk to find him. He went out there, he looked and listened to the lives of the people around him. He didn’t change who he was in order to serve them. He was authentically who he was, and because of that, people turned to him.
We are at a tipping point in our journey. We can either shrink back or take a big step forward into the next stage of our journey together. Our treasurer Charlotte W has recently challenged us to add the cost of a cup of coffee per week to our monthly giving if we are able. I have already increased my monthly giving by the equivalent of two lattes per month in response to the report Charlotte gave to the Annual Congregational Meeting. However, since Pride I have become so convinced that we are called to even greater things that I have just increased my monthly giving by another £20 per month. 10% of my income for today’s needs and a further 1% for our future.
Our community needs us. Let us be their church.