The blessings and challenges keep coming from the present Bridge Ministries. Others are better placed to provide the details of what has been going on at Exchange, but I do know that they have been very busy. Paul and David do sterling work collecting and delivering the heavier items and they see the joy of those seeking both to clear houses and those furnishing them!! Other team members are in the marquee receiving, sorting and boxing up items that are not appropriate for Exchange. They do this in all weathers and I am informed it has been very cold and damp during these winter months.
As expected, whenever you help people with their basic needs, you find out that there are other ways in which they need help. English classes for a Spanish speaking family, youth activities for children who have energy to burn and many more that I am not aware of. I will come back to this later in this article.
The Breaking Bread Café continues to be well supported and is now established as a hub for both church and non-church friends. There have been some interesting developments in recent weeks. A regular attendee arrived in great distress, and in tears asked someone to be with him as he prayed for himself and the situation he was in. What a wonderful confirmation of the ministry that can occur in a café where people are available to give time and listen. We have celebrated a few birthdays recently and cakes have been duly provided with a candle or two along with some very unrehearsed singing. As in any family, relationships can become strained on occasions and these are sometimes evident. But they know a warm welcome awaits them all at the café.
It is not many months before we expect the new building to be available and ministries will be transferred to the new location. You may think this premature but what might we be released to do when established in the new building? I have had a number of conversations with people about the possibilities that could arise through the canal side gate. Calvin Horner described very well at his recent commissioning as a Waterways Chaplain the needs of the river and towpath users.
We could not wish for a better location to serve these people in practical ways. Pop up facilities for, say, hairdressing, chiropody, Citizen’s Advice, legal advice etc. For the weekend waterways users, how about refreshments including light lunches for those who will use us as the turnaround point for their boat trip, cycle ride or walk? My favourite idea is that we will achieve notoriety for the ice-creams we sell!
Yes, I am getting carried away a little, but our building is located beside a river/canal for a purpose and in Bishop’s Stortford we are unique in this. We need to be praying and listening to what God is asking of us. He has wonderfully provided the site and both buildings. He has plans for us here.
In the last article I invited you to join in with what God is doing. You are not too late! Speak to Julia Horner, Paul or Lin Crispin about Exchange, or Janet Casson about the Breaking Bread Café. You don’t necessarily need to be ‘front of house’ in either of these ministries, there is much to be done behind the scenes. If you have ideas as to how the Bridge ministries should develop please speak to me or one of the other Elders.