Despite a number of setbacks and delays (the snow over Christmas included), the contractors should be handing over the completed site to the local congregation at the beginning of June. Then it will be all hands on deck for setting up and arranging desks and office chairs, wheeling in filing cabinets, stocking up the freezers for the café, making sure there’s an adequate supply of paper clips on the help desk and so on.
The excitement is growing, and people are seeing where they fit in, and getting creative with ideas for services to offer. More importantly though, we’re allowing it to intrude on our lives and we’re being a bit inconvenienced by it all – a sense of the project coming to land in our realities.
Members of Jesus Fellowship Sheffield recently had a tour of the site (with full complement of hard hats and high-vis jackets), which helped gain a sense of ownership of the project. Here’s what some of them said:
“I’ve been out of work from my main job for just over two years now, and although I’ve been doing a bit of cleaning, I’ve wanted to explore other interests. I’m looking forward to being involved, and I’m glad to see everybody’s pulling together.” – Mike Petherbridge
“I didn’t really see that I’d have anything to do in the Jesus Centre, because I have four young children, but I’m getting envisioned to run a really good parents and tots group to include lots of people.” – Harriet Lane
“I’ve been looking forward to working in the Jesus Centre as it gives me an opportunity to help people who need it.” – Colleen Jones
“Many people in this community will get a lot of benefits from using this Centre.” – Jonny Crawford
“I’m glad we don’t have to go to the other side of the world to be able to take part in mission – we can do it here where there’s spiritual poverty.” – Vicky Hadfield
“Each person is able to find their place – being volunteers in the Jesus Centre, everyone is valued.” – Liz Whittington
We’re thanking God for progress. A number of grants secured for renewable energy projects within the building: the southern roof of the main hall is well covered with solar panels, and we’re getting the windows of the hall replaced, too to keep the warmth (and sound) in. There’s a real sense of identity within the volunteer teams running the various services and good networking is opening up connections within the local community. We’re on target for capital funding.
But there’s plenty we’re continuing to pray for – like protection for the contractors on site and that they’d finish the final stages of construction in good time. We need to source the scheduled equipment at good prices, or preferably as gifts in kind. And we – always – need good teamwork and communication among volunteers.
Pray for us; it’s an adventure – and God is with us.
Viv Callard is one of a rising generation of leaders in the Jesus Fellowship. An ICT wizard, he also plays guitar and cracks jokes. His big passion is to see people won for Jesus in Sheffield.