During Suzette and Martin’s 3 months away, we’ve been especially aware of the wider ï¿½Lee Abbey Astonï¿½ community. We’ve been very grateful for the people who support the life and work of the house: management members, friends and neighbours.
We were especially helped by the concern and hospitality of our management group – on many occasions we were able to visit for the evening or have them to the house to share with us, and they telephoned us many times to see how we were doing.
One particularly memorable comment came from Javed, the man who runs the shop opposite the house. ï¿½If you need any help, just askï¿½ he said. ï¿½Our door is open to you, 24 hours a day.ï¿½
The last three months have also been a great opportunity for the two of us to develop our friendship in the changed dynamic of the two-member household. Among other things, we developed the two-part thanksgiving before meals and Taizï¿½-themed evening prayers together. We also went to the local Anglican Church for several Monday morning prayers.
We were able to offer some weeks of hospitality to a young woman called Maria, formerly a community member at Lee Abbey Devon, which was a great opportunity for fellowship and sharing together, and also for Maria to have plenty of space to reflect and search regarding her future.
Three local churches in Aston joined together for the Lent groups this year, St. James (Anglican), Six Ways Baptist and the United Reformed Church on Upper Sutton Street. We talked about being good neighbours and seizing opportunities to make new contacts.
Karen had a part in a Birmingham church production of ï¿½Josephï¿½ as a dancer, and helped lead a Taizï¿½-style worship service at the local Baptist church. Sandra came to both to support her.
Footballs, toys etc. frequently appear in our garden from children playing in neighbouring houses. Not having Suzette’s strength for throwing them back, Sandra was prompted by the Lent group’s message to go knocking on doors to return footballs. She was greeted by various smiling small children and their parents. There was also one older woman, who didn’t seem to speak any English. She gave Sandra the thumbs up, smiled and thumped her heartily on the back – giving the message that she was pleased.