Ever since the first Lee Abbey Household at no. 97 came into being, the Lord has used his people here to run the Christian race set before them in Knowle West. Everybody has worked alongside the Lord to enlarge the kingdom of love with their own particular gifts, bearing fruits of the Spirit. Last August, Rita and Martin handed over the relay baton to John and me to continue the race. Rita and Martin have done tremendous work here on the estate, building relationships and sharing the love of Jesus with many people. The people here miss them tremendously.
John and I moved from Minehead in Somerset where we are members of Minehead Baptist Church. We lived in Bristol for 40 years before the Lord called us to Minehead to work, and come from a broad ecumenical background in our Christian journey. We’ve been Friends of Lee Abbey for about 20 years, and have always considered it our spiritual home.
In September, Ruth Chapman joined us. Ruth is past community from Lee Abbey, Devon, and has a great passion to see young people come to know the Lord. I’m sure we’ll be hearing from Ruth in a coming Rapport and we look forward to forming community with her.
God is really at work in Knowle West. The estate has a difficult history and reputation, not all of it deserved, but we have found some wonderful people living here. We already feel very much at home. We hope to build stronger relationships with the Joshua Trust, who also have community on the estate, living and ministering to young people in particular. We hope to grow in unity and prayerful support with them and the other Christians here.
There are many exciting community projects in the area, not least a four-week course on ‘Does God Heal Today?’ including teaching on prayer ministry. This is run by the local GP, who also runs Alpha courses in the health centre. Powerful stuff! In September, there was a Community Fun Day opened by the Lord Mayor of Bristol. The sun shone (a rare occurrence!) There were free home-made cakes and drinks provided by the Joshua Trust and the Churches Together in Knowle West; face-painting; nail painting; glass-painting; music; dance; song; a prayer tent; free medical checks and many more activities. It was a brilliant day, drawing the community together with fun and laughter.
We look forward to 2009 … ‘fixing our eyes on Jesus’ and carrying on running the race!