News from Whitley (South Reading)

April saw our last session of Foundations for Life and Mission, finishing on a high with the graduation. Here’s some of the feedback we’ve received:

“Great for both new and mature Christians! The course helped me to get a grasp and understanding of different kingdom principals and mainly helping me to identify these principals in the word. It was great to openly discuss throughout the course with a group of like minded people coming from different areas of life and mission. With this group it allowed me to broaden my understanding of the different units discussed as I looked at how they individually interpreted the unit.”

“What a wonderful few months spent with my Fusion family. Thank you for such a wonderful, challenging and uplifting time. Love to you all 💕”

“Good way to cover a range of key topics, in a group. The journey together is valuable”

Our Re:Start program continues every Thursday with the JMA students at the risk of exclusion. Every week brings new experiences, challenges and hopes. It’s amazing to see young people grow in confidence and thrive as a human beings.  Every week a different person from the community helps us to cook and serve lunch for us and the young people. We’ve had some lovely feedback from one of such persons saying:

‘It was a pleasure and a privilege to serve you all. I really enjoyed being with you and eating with you all, and it was great to see the fabulous work you are doing.’

During the last month however – most of our attention was focused on the launch of our new website, together with the new name and logo. Anika made the first official announcement during the Service at St Paul’s Church, on Sunday 29th of April 2018.

And here we are – we’ve Shifted! Our announcement was met with people’s positive reaction. Most of you said it takes a bit of time to get used to the idea… Believe us – it took us a while too! But we believe this is what we needed to do. It feels right. Thank you for your support with us on our journey. We really appreciate it. God bless us all!

News from Wheatley

Wheatley St George’s Funday 2018 – a touch of spring?!

My report last year was titled ‘fun in the sun!’ Sadly, this year we thought we’d be dodging the showers all afternoon, but no! the rain held off and the people came. This year was our 14th annual Community Festival and around 500 gathered once more to celebrate our community, meet old friends and hopefully make a few new ones too. Most had been many times before, but we also had plenty of first timers, including someone from north Oxford who’d seen us on facebook only that morning!

This year the theme of our Funday was ‘What’s your story?’ Every one of us is unique and has their own story and understanding what led us to here and now helps us to understand what makes each of us tick and helps us all to live, work and play together in better ways. All our craft activities were designed to help draw out this theme and stimulate some interesting conversations. And it worked!

The face painting and bouncy slide were as popular as ever and the centre games team served up some great activities, some – of course – very wet! There were tug of war competitions for children and adults once again and of course the ever-popular climbing wall. Many chose to just watch the fun and chat, relaxing with a cup of tea and home-baked cake, or headed for the BBQ.

Our friendly Dragon (of St George fame) returned to tell us the tale of the rich man with his diamonds hidden in his shoes, who found walking and life painful until he learnt to share and use his riches for good. Thanks to all the children who joined in to bring the story to life!

As ever, sincere thanks must go to our many sponsors, including – once more – a significant grant from the Parish Council and generous contributions in so many ways from the local churches. A huge thank you to everyone who helped to make this event happen and, of course, to everyone who came along on the day and helped to create such a special occasion.

The theme of ‘What’s your story?’ and most of the craft activities were carried over into the following morning by children and adults alike as Wheatley Community Church integrated the festival fun into their Sunday morning service, exploring what God tells us about showing interest in others and caring for those we meet day to day.

Gordon Ewbank

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