North Shore (home of the Comfort Zone)…

11830874_10207295652891587_920509409_nI want to tell you the story of one of the churches I serve, I am telling it because it tugs at my heart and I need to tell it. I am telling it because it has become a place of healing, love and acceptance for me, and it has given to me far more than I could ever give. Its building sits in one of the poorest wards in the country, poverty is common place, families, and individuals go without food, and make the choice between heating or eating on a regular basis, and things ARE getting worse. These people are not shirker’s or lazy ( well of course some are but that is true everywhere, even rich people can be lazy!), rather they are caught in a system that seems loaded against them!

The Church building was built just over 100 years ago when Blackpool was a thriving resort, from then until the early 1980’s it continued to thrive as people packed the pews for Summer Evening Praise,  it was even no stranger to Political Party Conference worship. North Shore has a rather glorious story to tell, and in my opinion it still does…

These days the building is still bustling with activity, we are not a small and withdrawn congregation but a church that actively seeks to serve its community, but its community is no longer well-heeled, in fact it is quite the opposite as I have described above. Every week the church opens its doors to approximately 200 vulnerable and homeless people, we provide hot meals, clothes and more importantly a listening ear, love, prayer. We have been told over and over again that we are so much more than a soup kitchen, to the point where we now describe ourselves as a Community, the Comfort Zone Community. I often find that I am given as much and more love than I give.

CraigEvery week when I walk into the Comfort Zone I am greeted by Craig, Craig suffers from PTSD, and every week he hugs me and we pray together, this to me is a small picture of God’s kingdom growing and in action!

It is not all about the Comfort Zone though, the building is also home to the First Steps Centre who provide activities and advice for the elderly members of our community, hot meals, exercise classes, craft workshops and more. There is a cafe, and a Chinese group, computers available for the community to use free of charge, work is done with vulnerable families to teach basic life skills….

…and then there is Monty’s youth centre, seeing 60+ young and vulnerable people each session, providing a safe afterschool space, homework clubs, summer holiday clubs, outings, love friendship and more…

The Church also provides space for The Street Angels and Alcoholics Anonymous, and Liberty Church alongside other groups. Our worshipping congregation is drawn from all of these groups and more, we are an eclectic church in that we are not a group of grey haird ladies, nor are we predominantly middle class, we come from a variety of backgrounds, we welcome rich and poor, all people regardless of gender or sexuality, those with questions and those with none, those who are vulnerable and those who feel strong. We aim to have no barriers and are willing for our personal barriers to be broken down…

…and we are vulnerable, we face an uncertain future because of funding cuts, but we cling to a hope that God is able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine. A recent crisis has brought things to a head and we are looking for those who would support us in prayer, with wisdom and advice, and dare I say with financial backing…

We are not here , as I have said, for ourselves, we are truly a group that brings out the God colours and flavours in the world and in one another. Our stories are many, and over the next weeks I will try to tell some of them, but here is a taster of what we see on a weekly basis; it is not unusual to find our pews used as places to sleep, one dear lady used to come everytime the doors were open during the winter, she lived on the streets and came to find in us a place of warmth care and saftey, she has slept through many a sermon, and we recived her with love.

Another tale is of a person seeking comfort, he was pondering suicide, and our lovely buildings manager took time to listen and pray with him… we bring hope into dark places for others and are now seeking the same for ourselves.

If you have a moment please pray for. We will truly appreciate it….

Baptism

Prayers surrounding a special baptism.

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About Sally C

How do I describe myself, I am not what I do, (I am a Methodist Minister), I am not who I am related to (I have 5 wonderful children, and 2 lovely granddaughters). I am a seeker truth, a partaker of life in all it's fullness and a follower, sometimes stumbling, sometimes celebrating of the Christian pathway. I seek wholeness, joy and a connectedness to all things through a deep reconciliation with the God whose love blows my socks off!
This entry was posted in community, mission, North Shore. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to North Shore (home of the Comfort Zone)…

  1. David Crouchley says:

    Inspirational, amazing story of openess and inclusivity. North Shore is living as the right Church in the right place at the right time.

    Like

  2. Myra Dillistone says:

    Have befriended their Chaplain, Lynn, for some time on FB and heard about the Comfort Zone. If only I were younger I might start on of these ih our Exeter Church – but I do intend to try and let them know about the Blackpool division! I feel for all these disadvantaged people – I wish our Government did.
    revmyra@yahoo.co.uk

    Like

  3. Rosemary Nash says:

    Hi, I was so moved to read your post. You welcomed us into your church in the spring for worship whilst we held our church weekend away. You are on our prayer list, but I’m wondering if there are other ways we can support you. The good folk at ilkley road methodists have real soft spot for your church. If you would like to chat about this please feel free to email me. Our love and prayers are with all who have found a safe place in North Shore. Rosemary Nash.

    Like

  4. Angela says:

    Love to hear of the amazing community you work with, and remember it in prayer. Is the sign in the photo from North Shore?……it’s very powerful. Xx

    Like

  5. Pingback: Jayden K Smith | Eternal footsteps

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