Thanks to all those involved in our Christmas activities: a festive playgroup party, carols and nativity celebration, Christingle and food collections. Thanks especially must go to Ike (mrs Claus!) and Tonya (Mme. maestro!).

Thanks also to all those at Christ Church who donated food for the Christmas hampers. In partnership with the Salvation Army in Newtown , we delivered hampers to those who were elderly, housebound or isolated. Dave and Melissa, 1st year Light Project students, took these with me just before Christmas to visit three people we had made contact with in the community. None of them are currently attending church, but we were welcomed in by all of them, and each of them gladly accepted the hampers along with a prayer of blessing over them for the year ahead. It was a real privilege to do this and to be invited in to chat in their homes. One man who has accepted a gospel asked for prayer for his sick friend, and another gentleman who was unable to be confirmed in 1979 has asked for us to arrange, 30 + years on, for his confirmation! When Christians work together in unity, it is such a blessing.

Detached youth news!

With the winter weather so cold over the past few months, our detached youth were not to be found out and about on the streets in the evenings. This precipitated the need to discuss the benefits of detached work and whether a youth club with a (warm and safe) community base would be a better plan. Having already made contact with other youth leaders in Chester we decided it would be best to morph the detached work into a youth club and Jane is currently taking the steps to form a Newtown d’Biz. Our first evening as a youth group was curtailed as the power was lost in the Mission House causing a dramatic loss of lighting! It has grown from strength to strength and we have regular contact with up to 12 local unchurched youth (years 6-11) every Wednesday evening, who play on the consoles, do creative stuff, and chat and eat. Pray for continued unity for the leadership team and for Jane. Christ Church ’s PCC have decided that as God is opening up opportunities to connect with the local youth that they are proposing employing a part time Youth Worker from September. This is really exciting; please pray….

Parish visiting!

The same evening the lights went off another group were also using the Mission House! We were having a training event with Jane from the Diocese, with 10+ volunteers who have come forward as volunteer Parish Visitors (one lady Hannah comes from St Werburgh’s, the local Catholic church and has come to join our team). This month I have been busy writing a training pack and coming up with lots of essential policies which need to be agreed by the PCC next month. By the end of March, once all application forms and references have been assembled we can get on with the further training and CRB checking of volunteers. We hope to officially start visiting people in their homes after Easter; offering a friendly non-judgmental listening ear, prayer for healing if appropriate and home communions on request.

Other stuff

The playgroup continues to run and meet with parents from across Chester . This month we welcome new volunteer Celia from Christ Church and meet with the Children’s Centre’s Shirley Brown (who worships at Northgate Church) to see whether we could work together more with cross referrals and signposting of provision. Please pray for wisdom and discernment about the future of the group.

This month I am excited to be meeting with the new CPO (Community Police Officer) James. I had a good working relationship with Matt, the previous CPO, who invited me along to speak and have a presence at Community Meetings as well as referring to me community residents who they felt needed some support and visiting. Please pray for a good new working relationship with the local police and that we can work together effectively to see real and lasting change in the community of Newtown and Northgate Village and beyond!

More un- and de- churched people I know seem to be moving into the area of Newtown ! When God began to give me vision for the area, He made it clear this was to become an area which families would want to move into; so transformed would be the spiritual atmosphere and so reformed would be the safety and sense of community. One school Mum and her children have moved in because of a marriage breakdown and a pregnant young woman who used to attend a church youth group I led over 10 years ago! Please pray for wisdom and sensitivity for me as work and personal life cross over leaving pastoral situations which need a gentle hand and much prayer.

Contact me

Anina Thomas [0751 742 3176]