Sitting in Allen’s living room – I kept thinking of Nehemiah. Returning from captivity in Babylonia – back to Israel – first rebuilding the walls – then rebuilding the faith of a nation.
A year ago this had been a dilapidated – water damaged – boarded up manse.
Ebenezer church had been abandoned five years ago when the foundations of the church began to crumble and the existing congregation could not afford the 29 000 pound bill to repair their church.
With the aid of probationary workers – Allen (a part time minister) repaired the manse – and removed the overgrowth from the vacant lot adjoining the church.
– first rebuilding the walls…
…Killamarsh is a town of 10 000 south of Sheffield along the M1 – of those 10 000 inhabitants only 1% attend church – 100 people scattered through 3 churches –
“the harvest is great but where are the workers?”
Allen’s wife – who is often on short term missions inspired three others to join them in their work and soon those five turned into 22 adults within a year – meeting on Saturday in the living room of the manse for a service followed by a community dinner
– having quickly outgrown the living room they moved down to the church – after the work of the probationary workers had given them a workable worship space.
Admittedly a majority of the members of this new community are also attending the other churches, but some 30% of the community were previously unchurched – many of whom have now come to faith in Jesus.
One of the original members – Eileen – who joined us in our living room conversation – jumps up to grab a phone call. When we first met her she was in the small church kitchen washing toys for the new mom and tot’s group. She returns to the conversation joy written large on her face – another member for her group – GROW – ministering to those dealing with mental health issues.
With plans for a second Alpha course – and a new social justice outreach into the community – Allen and his team are looking to rebuild the faith of a town one life at a time.