Do not doubt that God is at work in this place – was the first testimony from one of the members of our diocese’s newest and fresh expressions of church – the Saturday Gathering that has just celebrated its third birthday.
Michael Parkes was one of a handful of new Christians who stepped forward to tell how God had transformed his life in the short time he had been part of the Saturday Gathering.
And he spoke for everyone when he said: “Who would have thought three years ago that we would have got here.”
Other witnesses told how they had grown in confidence, how they had become better mothers, better fathers, how they had been able to change around their chaotic lifestyles and how for the first time, they had begun to feel worthwhile.
The Saturday Gathering was celebrating its third birthday – with balloons, cake, bubbles – and in that time it has welcomed 78 newly baptised members and there are another six waiting to be baptised later this month.
This new church has grown out of the Halifax Food and Support Drop run by Christians Together in Calderdale which has been providing food and toiletries parcels and prayer support to the most needy and vulnerable for the six years from the Ebenezer Methodist centre in Pellon.
Linda Maslen, who was ordained deacon at Petertide, said: “More and more of those who used the Drop In were asking for prayer and when they saw their prayers answered, they began to come into a relationship with God and wanted somewhere to worship.”
Linda said fitting in to existing congregations in existing churches was not always easy for these newcomers and it made her and co-leaders Cath Binns and David Fawcett realise that they had to do something different – and Saturday Gathering was born.
Its success has led to the local authority, Calderdale Council, giving Christians Together in Calderdale rooms next door at a peppercorn rent to continue and extend this work as their services develop with a pay as you are able cafe, debt counselling, more arts and crafts, increased family and children’s work and support and signposting to other services.
Said Linda: “God has done so much in our time together; we’ve seen chaotic lives changed, addictions broken and relationships healed. We started with 12 people and now have about 80 worship with us on a Saturday evening and we have 78 people who have baptised or confirmed”
As Jeff Heaton, of Christians Together in Calderdale said: “These testimonies are a clear sign that members of this congregation are growing in faith and discipleship and taking their belief in Christ forward to a new level.”
You can find out more about the Saturday Gathering on the Fresh Expressions website.
Saturday Gathering meets every Sat from7pm everyone is welcome.
Anyone who wants to volunteer at the Drop in – should contact…Jeff Heaton
jeff [at] christianstogether.org.uk or linda_maslen [at] hotmail.com
Donations are always needed –
pasta/rice, sauces, canned meat, canned soup, baked beans, tomatoes, canned fruit, shampoo, shower gel, deodorant, sanitary products and toothpaste.