The Saturday Gathering which has seen over 100 new Christians come to faith since it opened five years ago, is planting a new church in its hometown of Halifax.
Newly baptised members of the Saturday Gathering shared their stories to a packed congregation in St Hilda’s Halifax on Sunday night to promote the launch of Saturday Gathering West which will open for the first time in that church on Gibraltar Road, on Saturday 15 October.
One of the founders of Saturday Gathering, the Revd Linda Maslen, said: “Sharing our faith is a really important part of what we do. We tell our stories and we pray. It’s who we are."
The Saturday Gathering, a fresh expressions of church, grew out of the Food Bank and Drop In Centre run by Christians Together in Calderdale from Ebenezer Methodist Church in the centre of town and has become one of the fastest growing churches in Yorkshire. The volunteer ecumenical group started to offer prayers to those using the food bank, and they found people coming back wanting to know more about the God who was answering their prayers. But with significantly different backgrounds and upbringings, and often chaotic lives, traditional church proved to be out of their reach, so the Saturday Gathering was born.
Four members of the Saturday Gathering stood up and gave their testimony on Sunday – all of them new to faith.
Liz told how, for 27 years. she hated God and if she had ever come face to face with Him, she would have shouted at him.
“I came from a very abusive home; I was sexually abused regularly and was a prostitute by the age of 13 No one ever told me they loved me without wanting sex or money,” she said.
Liz is now about to embark on the Mission Shaped Ministry Course.
Jimmy, pictured here far left, being confirmed by Bishop Jonathan, told the congregation that the Saturday Gathering taught him to live again.
Tom said he was lost but saw how the Saturday Gathering changed people’s lives. He has just got contact with his son for the first time and now wants to set up a business to take on other broken people and give them something to do. “It grows around family and God,” he said.
Cath Binns, part of the worship group for Saturday Gathering told the audience that when churches look at these guys they look at them as addicts; prostitutes and thugs – but God looks at them in a different way.
“Our guys are pastors, teachers, evangelists; rebuilders of cities. God has a purpose and a plan and it’s beautiful; he speaks to their lives and the treasure that is in them and nothing is impossible. I urge you to start looking through God’s eyes.”
Saturday Gathering West will launch on 15th October in St Hilda's Church building. Volunteers are needed. Contact Linda Maslen at linda_maslen [at] hotmail.com
Members of the Saturday Gathering starred in the Church of England's Lord's Prayer project which was banned by the cinemas and in the follow up film, Psalm 22 earlier this year. You can find them and more at justpray.uk