By Jennie Hardy
I am employed by All Saints, Kensington as their Community Pastor. My role was created as a response to the great needs in our local community, where there are so many people who struggle with addictions, poverty, mental health problems and homelessness. My role is in its third year and has developed into a fruitful ministry, which includes a Christian recovery programme, a drop-in for Sex Workers, a weekly community drop-in and a drama group.
The original Horizons community had one meeting a week, that was focussed on God and on discipleship, but I felt that God was leading us to do something more than that. So in 2017, during a leadership seminar at the Naturally Supernatural Conference, I asked one of the Speakers, ‘How can we see the Holy Spirit moving more among communities made up of Sex Workers, the Homeless and those who are struggling with addictions?’ The answer to this question was an invitation to visit the Lifestyles Congregation in Aberdeen, which is a part of City Church. I was inspired by both them, and also by the ministry style of the Langley Community in Salford. As my vision grew, it was fully supported by the Leadership Team at All Saints.
With the approval of All Saints, I contacted Dan at the Joshua Centre and was happy to be able to apply for their support. There was some back and forth of paperwork, and some positive and helpful meetings with Dan, and soon the Joshua Centre agreed that the NEW Horizons Congregation was something that they were happy to partner with. A team of people have since been recruited from both All Saints, and also from the surrounding areas, with a passion to see broken lives restored.
We decided together, as a team, that it made sense for us to hold our services at the All Saints Worship Centre, as the location is perfect for the people we are trying to reach, and it has all the facilities there which we might need. We also decided that the best time for us to meet would be on Sundays, between 4.30-6.30pm. So, we eventually launched our first worship service on 21st October, and had 72 people in attendance! Numbers for the next two weeks have stayed between 40-60 people, and giving has already begun to happen.
Our worship includes ‘breaking bread’ together (with clear guidelines), sung worship, prayer ministry, preaching, small group discussions (on alternate weeks) and a weekly testimony. We also hope to be able to continue to give out food parcels for those who need them at the end of each service.
While we have a great and committed team, we do find it difficult to fit in a weekly prayer meeting as well as the service. We plan to keep the format of our service the same until January when we will assess everything and decide on any changes as a team. Being overseen by our Vicar, Mike Coates, and having the support and training from the Joshua Centre is a big help and encouragement.
The best part of it all is that, in our first three weeks of running, we have already had four people who have made a decision to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, and given away three Bibles! One person even said, “I only came for the food, I’ll be honest. But something has changed, I feel different, I feel lighter and I will definitely come again, can I have a Bible please?”