Back in 2005, when we were considering becoming leaders of the Aston Community, those connected with the Households sensed that God was saying ‘Think of having a Community of two houses rather than one’. With three teenage children we would never have fitted into 121 Albert Road along with other Community members, so we felt greatly encouraged by this new perception, which confirmed our sense that God was leading us here.
However, after living as a Community of two houses for over four years, we are preparing to become one house again. By the time you read this article work should have started on altering and refurbishing 121 Albert Road, to be nicknamed ‘The Hope Centre’. When that work is completed, we will all move there. Why the change?
The decision has been taken mainly because we have only three Community members at present, and the extra cost of running a second house cannot be maintained. However, this is not to say that the initiative of having a Community of two houses has failed! At the same time, we recognise that bringing 121’s facilities into the 21st century will not only make joining our community a more attractive option in future, but also make it easier for us to carry out our vision here.
What is that vision? We want our Community life to express HOPE:
- offering hospitality to each other and to those we meet as our resources allow;
- living in openness with each other, accepting each other with the gifts and weaknesses that each of us brings;
- having prayer at the centre of our Community life, knowing that the fruit of our shared life arises from the presence of God within us and the transforming work of his Spirit;
- seeking to engage with others through our relationships at work (paid and voluntary) and leisure, communicating Jesus in these relationships.
What will change at 121?
Most importantly, we want to have a dedicated prayer room as a resource both for ourselves and for other Christians in the area, with a door leading straight into the garden so that also becomes a prayer resource. In addition, we want to have an extension to the downstairs kitchen so that we can offer hospitality more easily. The whole house will be refurbished, and some other modifications will be made to the rooms. When the work is finished, we will have enough bedrooms and living space for a Community of five adults.
Please pray for us as we face this big change, and especially for the fund-raising which is needed to complete the work. If things go to plan (a big if!) we hope to move in by Christmas; meanwhile, we live in hope, and continue to try to work out our ministry of HOPE here in Aston.