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27 June 2013

Wimbledon churches love all, serve all

Wimbledon churches love all, serve all

Thousands from all over the world descend on this tiny corner of SW19 and queue overnight in tents alongside burger vans and portaloos in the hope of grabbing tickets for Centre Court. Local churches are welcoming the tennis fans to Wimbledon and each evening serve them with a smile and free refreshments.

The Love all Serve all team are out in Wimbledon Park, among the tents, near the All England club between 9pm and 10.30pm handing out free drinks and cookies and offering prayer and conversation.

Now in its 11th year, the project engages with the positive atmosphere and festival feel of the queues and involves volunteers from more than 10 local churches. There are often opportunities for team members to speak into people's lives and pray for them as well as listening to people's stories.

This unique mission opportunity has been headed up by Carolyn Skinner since its inception. Carolyn, now the director of Third Space Ministries, said: "We just want to bless the fans but we don't hide why we do this. In a way we have a mission field on our doorstep because the people come to our streets for two weeks.

"Often we have short encounters with people and we want to leave them with a positive impression of Christianity, create a hunger for them to want to find out more, and help them move a step closer to understanding a God who loves them - seed sowing really.

"Most of them are very happy to talk and we have a laugh and chat about Andy Murray's chances of winning this year or who they are excited to watch. It is really great to have such a willing team from many different denominations involved, young and older, working with the same vision."

"When I am part of the team I am always amazed at people's positivity and willingness to chat. The organisers have great relationships with stewards and vendors too," says Lucy Cooper from Everyday Church Wimbledon "Fans are taken aback that we offer something free but also quite surprised that the local churches were actually joining together to do this."

Follow @ThirdSpaceMin #loveallserveall