When I first started writing the story of this craft group the world was a different place. I wrote it after reflecting on thirty years in small struggling churches. Churches that felt at times as though they could topple over into oblivion. They were walking along a precipice. If they stepped one way they would disappear over the edge. If they stepped the other way they lived to fight another day.
They could do what we did
My dream was to reach out to these churches and say look we had these challenges but here is what we managed to do. We set up a craft group the like of which we have never heard anyone else doing. We became somewhere carers could take people they would struggle to take anywhere else. People with some major disadvantages in life. Some could not speak at all while others would speak a few words. All of them had learning disabilities. Some could walk in the building but others came in a wheelchair.
They came with their carers and we had a great time together. There was fun and laughter but also some serious times when we became a listening ear for carers weighed down by problems at home.
We opened the doors and asked God to bring the people to us and this who he brought. We ran that group for four years until the lockdown led to it collapsing. We cannot open the doors anymore and after six months we don’t know if we will ever be able to open it up again. However, God is doing a new thing and it is time to catch the new wave.
Lockdown and fear
In the beginning, lockdown brought back a whole load of fears. Brought back? I had lived in a very fearful atmosphere for years and the fearful atmosphere that seemed to have spread everywhere reignited old fears. Fears I had taken on board as a folly a deux while I was married. This time the fear was stronger outside the house than inside it.
Once the fear lifted somewhat I could think again. Was there a future for this craft group? I could not work out how to re-create it online. At least not in the exact same way that we ran it in a building. Yes I could draw someone to one side in a breakout room but to do that I would need a clone to carry on in the main room. I asked a couple of people for help. One had a very good reason not to help and the other did not respond.
I was stuck. It sounds daft but I needed to make the time and space to be creative myself. I missed having the excuse to do the practical stuff myself. The old group had been as much about providing a loving atmosphere as it had been about making things.
I was not sure how to get started so I prayed and then started writing this letter I don’t know who God will send my way this time. however, it is time I opened the doors to see who will walk in.
If this resonates with you please fill in the form below and if you know anyone who would benefit from this kind of craft group let them know. They could be just the person God wants to join me on this adventure.