I thought you might like a little update on what’s been going on in the church.
Well, sleep Safe is now an independent unit, with its own board of trustees, and supported by the church. Jaz and Mary are the co-chairs, Linda is the secretary, I am the treasurer, and Greg is member at large. There are others who also attend meetings as interested parties and anyone is welcome to do so. ( I have it easy really because until we have our own bank account all the funds are being held by The Village* and Keith does all the hard work! (Thank you Keith). The website is up and running and being accessed in the community, (see it HERE), we have handouts available and will be creating the posters and banners for promotional work soon. The next stages are our own bank account, charitable status,and then another step into the vision with active support for the LGBT homeless and vulnerably housed in Brighton and Hove.
The Village now has a crisis team, (currently Sarah and I), and we are able to make emergency payments up to £20 on the spot. Larger payments are decided on a team basis, with Sarah, Myself, and Jean, (as our Lay Delegate and safeguarding officer) making the decision together. To date no one has used this service but I imagine once sleep safe has posters up and has the funds to advertise in G-Scene, that will change quite quickly.
We are members of the LGBT Small Groups Network, Churches Together, and through the network Community Works.
Members of our congregation now lead Brighton Cares, getting supplies out to rough sleepers when needed, and fund this independently. Some members are registered with Switchboard as befrienders in the community, connecting with the housebound. On occasion we have calls for help from LGBT Christians that live way out of our catchment area and are unable to come to church. They watch the sermons on our website and connect weekly with members on the phone for a friendly voice and some support.
You may have noticed that Wendy and Nicky have been missing from worship a lot recently. This is because they have bought a house in Spain and have now moved all their belongings over there. We miss them enormously, even though the final move isn’t planned for a couple of weeks. Matthew enjoys worshipping with us and will have carers bring him whenever possible. He is such an integral part of our church community and I’m sure that Wendy will be pleased to know that he’s asked after if he misses a service.
We now have new songbooks, (Thank you so much Will), and they’re AMAZING!! Big print, easy to navigate, Will has done a great job with them. Music is such an integral part of worship and Will brings a gentle and Holy Spirit to our service. Last Sunday I was off colour so I just sat in my seat the entire service. It was lovely! The gentle music through communion was like a prayer lifting everyone up. It was such a blessing.
We’re nearly a registered charity, all the paperwork has been done, (Thank you to Nigel and Jaz) and soon we’ll be able to claim gift aid. If you’re a tax payer and give regularly then please let Keith know.
Because I’m involved with so many different projects I often miss the big picture. This week I took time to step back and look at where the church is now and where we are going. It often seems like three steps forward, two steps back, a frustrating dance. But then I look at where we are, how far we’ve come, and the vision before us, I’m so proud to be your Pastor.
* All Sleep Safe funds are held by The Village MCC but are ringfenced solely for sleepsafe. The use of Sleep Safe funds has to be authorised by a majority vote of The Sleep Safe board of trustees and ratified at a Sleep Safe board meeting.