Sunningdale sheltered housing

Monday, 1 June, 2009

Sunningdale is a community of 108 self-contained, warden-assisted flats all occupied by elderly people. Lesley Bailey, a lay-reader at Christchurch, with four others began church services here eighteen months ago.

Lesley says she is well known now among the residents. Some will join in for the end of worship cup of tea even though they don’t attend the rest of the worship. Others will ask for prayer.

There is much to give thanks for at this stage:

  • over ten percent of the community are already in the congregation;
  • members are fully involved in the worship;
  • the entire community being personally invited to each service.

Some members of the congregation are able to lead prayers and others feel comfortable reading the Bible. They may not have done this in a larger church.

Several have rediscovered their faith since services began at Sunningdale. One struggled for several months to overcome her agoraphobia so she could attend the services that are held in the residents' lounge. Now she reads the lesson with enthusiasm and commitment.

Lesley is very excited about how the church is developing. She hopes the next step will be a more in-depth study of the Bible for those who are interested.

Updates to, and learning points from, this story

Monday, 1 June, 2009

This story illustrates the principles of The OUT dimension of church in the Guide.