The Bishop of Huddersfield joined the Saturday Gathering to celebrate their new premises – thanks to a generous gift from the local authority, Calderdale Council - and celebrate their latest initiative, a Pay As You Are Able Café in Halifax called the Banqueting Table.
Calderdale Council has been so impressed by the work that the charity, Christians Together in Calderdale do in supporting the Halifax Food and Support Drop In and Saturday Gathering, that they have given them their own building on a peppercorn lease, to be able to expand their vital work.
Since moving into the building just before Christmas, Christians Together in Calderdale have provided Christmas Dinner for over 80 people and a winter shelter which gave over 500 nights accommodation to people who would otherwise have slept on the streets between Jan1 and March 31. The support provided by the volunteers meant that 40 people were helped into accommodation. Whilst the shelter is now closed the support continues in partnership with local agencies.
The latest initiative is a pay as you are able café The Banqueting Table at The Gathering Place, St James' Road - where the shelter has been - it opens 3 days a week at lunchtimes and is feeding on average 60 people each day.
Linda Maslen, who will be ordained deacon this Petertide, and is co leader of the Saturday Gathering said: “We believe no one in Calderdale should need to be hungry. ”
The Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs also heard about other plans for the group which include creative activities to help build self esteem through music, art and media for those marginalised, homework clubs to support the children of the Drop In and Saturday Gathering families, cooking, budgeting and job seeking skills.
Saturday Gathering is a Fresh Expression of church in Halifax. It all began at the Halifax Food and Support Drop In which was set up and run by people from a number of different churches within the Calderdale area who were motivated to do more than just offer food and wanted to support people in being able to change their circumstances through access to the right help.
Prayer was offered and as God answered the prayers, people wanted to know more about the God who was answering them. The challenge was how to support people into getting to know more about faith and to support them becoming disciples of Jesus.
Saturday Gathering started in September 2012 with 6 people and now regularly sees over 70 people gathered together to worship – with 60 people newly baptised or confirmed this Fresh Expression of Church goes from strength to strength.
For more information there is a video on the Fresh Expressions website http://www.freshexpressions.org.uk/stories/saturdaygathering/sep14 or contact Linda Maslen linda_maslen [at] hotmail.com