Mission Stories

re-fresh St Mary 's Church, Orton Waterville

re-fresh is a Fresh Expression of Church who meet monthly to create a space to connect with others, to encounter God, and to share life.

re-fresh has now met on five occasions in Orton Waterville and have welcomed some 50+ people, adults and children, from the surrounding community into their gatherings. They started this new re-fresh community in June 2015 and meet monthly on the 4th Sunday of each month, from 4pm to 5.30pm.

The family-focused gatherings are a mixture of hospitality, food and refreshments, multimedia presentation and reflections, creative prayer spaces, and gentle discipleship. Connections with the local schools, existing relationships with many parent & child groups and individuals, and promotion via Facebook are proving fruitful as many families have fed back that they loved attending re-fresh with old friends and meeting new friends from the church and community.

For more information see: re-fresh community on Facebook.

cre8, West Dereham

cre8 is a missional initiative at St Andrew 's Church in West Dereham birthed in 2015.

The aim, which is part of the Church 's Mission Action Plan, is to engage with the local community, showing generosity and hospitality, while sharing the Christian message through all age activities.

The cre8 harvest event was a success with the main activity being pizza-making along with a scarecrow competition, crafts , collage-making, songs and storytime. The event drew 17 children attend from the village and surrounding area along with 9-10 parents. This was their fourth event and having started with nothing, cre8 now sees a core group attending, with 50 children who have attended at least one event.

Focus on….. ELY FOODBANK

What are the aims of Ely Foodbank?

Ely Foodbank 's aim is to help people through a short term emergency. Our remit is to reach a 15 mile radius, although this will only be done as a response to the need in a particular location. The Foodbank is not just about food; we aim to help people with the issues that led them to use us, so hopefully the need for our service will reduce.

In Ely we see on average 60 people per month and within our satellite centres we see around 140.

We have been helping a young mum with food for quite a while. She was new to the area and was struggling as single mum with 3 young children. With benefits stopped because of a change in her circumstances, she was really up against it. However she desperately wanted to work to support her children rather than rely on the Government. She managed to find a job, and with her first pay packet purchased some food for foodbank to return the favour. She didn 't need to but we understood her delight in being able to do so.

Cathy Wright, organiser of the Ely Foodbank initiative, was awarded the St Etheldreda medal in recognition of her work. She said:

'It was very emotional for me but such an honour to stand before the Bishop in the best location in Ely, in the Cathedral. I didn 't get involved with Foodbank to receive an award, although I was very pleased for the occasion to acknowledge this was about our volunteers, Trustees and supporters who together make it work'.

  • Prayer needs for Foodbank

We like to tell people that we believe in a God that changes lives and what would they ask Him to change? May people know our God of change, love and hope.

Practically, we pray for a change of location for the Store. We need to be able to work better, safer and…warmer!

Thankful for answered prayers - a group of homeless people are relying less on their addictions and a couple are adapting to new housing.

By Cathy Wright, Ely Foodbank.


A year to be equipped in planting and sustaining fresh expressions of church

The Mission Shaped Ministry Course is a one-year, part-time course which takes people on a learning journey as part of a supportive community, training them for ministry in fresh expressions of church. Run ecumenically, MSM has been presented over 115 times across the UK with more than 3,600 participants - and it is also offered internationally.

Ely Diocese supports individuals through attending this course within the region. For more details, email mission@elydiocese.org

"We'd started a Forest Church in our village and were really keen to learn more about Fresh Expressions and how we could develop what we were doing. MSM has given us space to reflect. It has also inspired us to look ahead and see where things might go next."

Focus on….. 'ESSENCE '

'Essence ' is a place to meet friends, ask questions about life & faith, explore spirituality and spend quiet time with God.

Essence meets every Wednesday during term time, 9.30 - 11.30am in the Church hall behind St Andrew 's Church, Impington. Everyone, of any age, is welcome.

It is an intergenerational community of regular attenders, occasional attenders and newcomers who meet to share breakfast, discussion, space, reflection and conversation. To enable mothers with young children to participate, a creche is provided, where the aim is to nurture each child and introduce elements of the Christian faith through stories, songs and crafts.

Essence Leader feedback: 'After numerous invitations from a neighbour, I started attending Essence in the Autumn of 2010 in our original home at St Andrew 's, Histon, with my newborn, first born child. As an occasional church goer in my childhood and a more regular church goer since getting engaged and moving to Impington, this was something totally new: a place where I could ask all the questions I always felt I should have known the answer to so was too embarrassed to ask! Essence, quite simply, changed my life and that 's why I 'm so passionate about co-leading the group and encouraging others to come to know God or deepen their relationship with Him. '

Essence - Members ' comments

'Both of my children love the creche, the care, craft and songs, helping them to develop their own faith as I enjoy a golden time of peace with others and with God. Essence has… supported me in focussing my life more on God. '

'Essence is about space, developing a deeper faith & understanding. It is a highlight and focus of the week. '

'I 've enjoyed being pampered with coffee, croissants and cake and also enjoyed the spiritual sessions which have helped me feel closer to God and are now an important part of my life. '