Cookhill Baptist Church
A Worcestershire church looking for new ways to connect with its community post-covid
A Home Mission grant has enabled the church to open its premises as a church cafe during the week and develop a Youth Social event
Since receiving the Home Mission Grant, we set to open the Chapel and adjoining 'School room' at Cookhill Baptist Church on Tuesday and Thursday mornings as a 'Church Cafe'. Before the pandemic era the church had been opening on Tuesday mornings with regular visitors. With the grant we initially invested in a vacuum cleaner, coffee machine and craft materials and presented both mornings as both a 'craft club' and just a time for socializing. Although the Tuesday mornings grew back to pre-covid levels the Thursday morning event was not well supported so this was dropped. The Tuesday social expanded to include a cooking activity and a weekly and brief bible devotional slot was included mid session. Attendees include those with anxiety problems, depression and loneliness. Quite often there is also good interaction and witnessing opportunities with relatives and carers who drop off and collect guests at each of the sessions.
Therefore, with the Church Cafe operating on less days per week as expected, the church leadership team turned their attention, after much prayer and discussion, to a bi-monthly 'Youth Social' event. This was a joint effort made with the youth team at Redditch Baptist Church that hosted this social event every other month. The rest of the Home Mission grant was therefore spent on increasing the games and activities available during the social evening, in addition to facilities and equipment already available at the church or lent from members of the fellowship. The complete list of activities now include: table tennis, indoor archery, scaletrix, Nintendo Switch gaming area, table football, air hockey table, snooker table, proper bar style ball release pool table and tuck shop. These social events take place on Sunday evenings for 11+ years of age. The first session in November brought in 21 youth, and 18 youth at the following session in January, from areas in Cookhill village but also neighbouring areas of Astwood Bank, Redditch, Inkberrow and Studley. The session always ends with a secular talk to encourage youth to talk to leaders about any welfare, career concerns etc. and that this is their safe space. A couple of the youth that attended this have made their way to a Sunday morning service. As with the coffee morning, the Sunday evening Youth Social (approximately 1.5 hours duration) allows good witness opportunities to the parents and carers who come and drop off and collect their children.
We are most encouraged by the numbers supporting both events and the quality of conversations. We praise the Lord for this and ask him for guidance on how to develop these sessions further to engage as much of the communities around as possible. We thanks HEBA for their generous Home Mission Grant that has made these initiatives more attractive then they would have been.
Charles Stubbings - Minister of Cookhill Baptist Church
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