Blessed… to be a blessing
The Stowe, Wichelstowe
A community of blessing - listening to their neighbours
'What is God saying to our community?'
One of our churches currently receiving a Home Mission grant is The Stowe, Wichelstowe in Swindon. Connecting with and blessing their community has always been at the heart of The Stowe. A carved pumpkin at their recent Pumpkin Party (‘No Tricks, just Treats’), announced their mission to continue to bring ‘Light in the darkness’, as the Stowe community seek to live in partnership with their neighbours.
Owen Green, one of the Stowe ministers, recently told Regional Minister, Alisdair Longwill, ‘as we look towards Christmas this year, before we work out what to do, we’ve been asking the question ‘What is God saying to our community this Christmas?’
They’ve sensed God reminding them that their community can know rebirth through the birth of Jesus. Last year The Stowe ‘yarn-bombed’ their community with knitted angels, hung from trees and lamp-posts etc, reminding their neighbours of the momentous news announced that first Christmas time. At the moment their plan for this year is to take ‘Jesus’ on tour, to place ‘him’ (or a lookalike) in a manger and move him widely throughout East Wichel. A knitted Nativity will also tour East Wichel, prompting the question of families and individuals, ‘will you find room for Jesus this Christmas?’
The Stowe see themselves as a community of blessing – people who deeply listen to their neighbours. The result of this has often been something new and creative, but this year, they will likely hold a Christingle service. Why? Because one of their neighbours recently commented, ‘I love Christingles’.
Part of the rebirth for the Stowe will be the long-awaited second phase of the Wichelstowe development - Middle Wichel. It is hoped that people will begin to move in in September 2019. Some members of the core group recently attended a Middle Wichel Consultation - joining with planners, developers, and fellow Christians from the nearest Parish Church to hear further details about the second phase of development. Baptist and Anglican Christians have been meeting to pray about the future of Middle Wichel, exploring together what God is calling them to do. Please join them in praying that Jesus-shaped partnerships and relationships might develop and give a kingdom-shape to that emerging new community.
Please do keep praying for Owen Green and for Ali Boulton, for their core group, and the wider community of Wichelstowe. Pray that the good news message of Jesus will be experienced by many in East Wichel this Christmas, that people will be reborn and that light might shine in the darkness there and in your community, and in mine as we approach Christmas this year.
Alisdair Longwill, West of England Baptist Association
Click here to read more stories about how the money you give to Home Mission is being used to bring the love of God to communities around the country.