SEBANorthfleet North

 
Northfleet North is an area on the outskirts of Gravesend in North Kent and is flanked by the river Thames.  Originally a prosperous industrial area it is now in the top 15% of the poorest places in England.  As with many poor areas there are problems with crime, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, anti-social behaviour, loneliness and even the occasional stabbing.

I have been working in this area as a pioneer for the past four years and, alongside a small team of nine, now run several different activities - some directly church related, others not.  Within the past year we have experienced a lot of growth and have between 16-24 non-Christian children attending our kids' church; we also have an adults' house church which meets in my flat.  There are eight regular attendees and we have had people coming to Christ through this.  In addition, I mentor a teenager and also run frequent CAP courses on a one-to-one basis.  We are linked with the local food bank and help these struggling families to budget better.  During the summer we took three teenagers to Soul Survivor and all three made a commitment to Christ and so we now have a small youth group that has recently started.

We thank God for…
  • the brilliant team he has put together that work closely with me, and who are growing in their Christian faith as a result of stepping out and taking on the challenging work of Northfleet
  • all those who have found Jesus this year
  • finding me a place to live in the area so I can be close to those I’m working with.

We ask God…
  • that he strengthens those who have made a commitment to him and protects them from any attacks of the devil
  • for peace on Wallis Park, which is a place that houses the poorest people in the area and is subject to the most extreme violence
  • for wisdom for social workers, leaders and the authorities to help these people in a Godly manner.

Practical needs…
  • someone to act as a fundraiser
  • somewhere to house the kids' church stuff
  • more people who have the appropriate gifting to help out and lead the kids' church as we would like this to become a weekly church (and so do the residents)
  • access to a Christian Counsellor who is willing to work in the area and help these many battered people find freedom

Goals for the next year…
  • running kids' church weekly
  • running adults' church weekly
  • expanding the youth work to include detached work
  • relaunch of pub evangelism
  • expansion of teenage mentoring
  • setting up a befriending service
  • to produce a short film introducing the work in Northfleet
  • to bring God's good news to the people in Northfleet in ways that they will understand and accept
  • build stronger relationships with the community
  • to disciple our new Christians.

NorthfleetNorthEvents planned for next year…
  • Soul survivor
  • Easter event
  • Summer outing
  • All Saints service
  • Christmas outing to London - this allows those who don't attend church to mix with the church members in a fun and non-threatening way
  • a Christmas carol service

We continue to be stunned by all that is happening in North Northfleet and feel God is doing miraculous things here. The adult church has a mixture of new Christians and non-Christians attending it and there is a massive family feel to the fortnightly meetings. They love coming so much that one of them postponed their holiday so they could attend and, although the meeting is only an hour long, they normally stay for three or four hours afterwards.  I normally have to throw them out in the end :)

Kids' church is not only a massive hit with the local kids but also their parents.  One parent was heard commenting to another how kids' church wasn't like normal church and how the kids love it and rave about it when they get home from it.  This just confirms how the community has accepted us and our work.  Jesus' message is so desperately needed by these poor people and they are becoming more open to experience his love for themselves and their children.  I always think this area is just where we would find Jesus, with the poor and social outcasts.

I just want to express my deep gratitude to everyone who supports this project either financially or by being members of SWAT (Spiritual Warfare Attack Team) and praying regularly for all the work we do in Northfleet.  We couldn't bring Jesus' love and message to these people without your generosity of spirit and support.  Thanks
The Revd Dawn Turner

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