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10 June 2011

Food for thought

Food for thought

Challenged by the question 'does our community know who we are?', Kings Community Church in Lancaster decided to make themselves better known - resulting in positive church community work throughout their neighbourhood. 

Starting by meeting in small groups of people with similar interests in specific areas of need, the church thrashed out how they felt they should get more involved, with the help of Square Mile resources. 

Says Ian McClean, pastor of the church: "I know that in some places people walk past a building and they don't even know it is a church. We knew that we didn't have a very good understanding of the community and at the same time we saw that the Square Mile resources on the website were asking the same questions."

Looking at the areas of youth and families, the homeless and the elderly, the results of the Square Mile small groups at the church have been truly impressive.  In the area of parents and children for example the work achieved has far exceeded expectations. Says Ian: "We have developed 'Grown ups and Growing up' and in a short space of time we had 70 people plus their children coming every Tuesday - we could almost do with holding it everyday," he says.

"I would say that 85 per cent of those people are from the community. "This was just who we wanted to reach and we made the surroundings a really pleasant place to be, with a café and play area."

Another successful project has been the church's work with the homeless. Coming out of the group whose focus was for young people, the church was contacted by a homeless action charity and the congregation put together food parcels for them.  The church also held a special service for the homeless community in its building.

"We recently did a Homeless Action Sunday - a space for people who are homeless to have someone to talk to and have a meal," Ian says. "We had about 20 people and we are planning to do more.  The church responded brilliantly."

Kings Community Church is also looking at giving part of their building to the homeless charity, providing facilities to those who don't have a home. "We are currently looking at how they can use part of our building to house their work and we want to create a one stop shop for those who are homeless where they can have access to nursing services, washing and a kitchen," says Ian.

And the projects don't stop there. "We have also noticed that there is a real problem in Lancaster with families just not having enough food to eat - whether that is caused by addictions or other social issues we are concerned about the children in these situations," he says. "We are looking at providing 10 emergency food packs a month working with social workers."

The church is also planning on providing weekend lunch services to the elderly and a contact group to provide a place for supervised visits for family mediation.