Monday, 21 May 2018

UMBRELLAS - A GATHERING PLACE

In 2015, God started prompting me to consider opening a coffee house with a dedicated play area in it for under 5’s.  This became a much stronger calling throughout the next year and having prayed about it and sought advice and counsel from a number of people, and with support from George and the family, I started exploring how this could become a reality.  There have been many ‘coincidences’ along the journey, that have just convinced us that God is totally behind and in control of this project.  I had an initial idea of where the café could be situated, but God had other ideas! 
I always knew that the Grangewood area of Chesterfield had a bad reputation, and God has opened up the way for the coffee house to be situated right in the middle of the estate, in a new development to be built there.  The Grangewood area is in the Rother Ward, in the bottom 8% of deprivation for the whole country, with no visible church presence on the estate. 
The vision has grown and changed – the coffee house will have a dedicated play area in it, so that
parents and carers can relax and have some quiet, relaxing time knowing that the children are enjoying themselves.  This area can be screened off and small groups can meet there, with activities such as story time, music time, simple cooking, messy play etc.  In addition, the partitioned area can be used to host small groups for the elderly, having social groups, memory café, music groups, to bring people together who are possibly isolated and fearful.
We will also use the premises for  more obvious church based initiatives, such as café church, Alpha sessions – both adults and toddler Alpha groups; a base for people to come back to after running children’s events on the nearby park area.  Although there will be a number of groups held there, the main aim is for Umbrellas to be a place where people can come to and feel accepted and welcomed – where there will be a friendly greeting and a shoulder to lean on, if they want it!  We want the presence of Jesus to fill the place - where people can meet Jesus through the volunteers who are serving them coffee, doing the washing up, cooking the food or just there to meet people.  Everyone has the opportunity to play their part. 
Umbrellas will be the building where the community know that they can go to for good food; advice; a hug; someone to pray with them; someone to listen to them; or somewhere where they can meet Jesus. It will be church – the family of God – in the middle of Grangewood Farm - a new expression of church, meeting the needs of the local community it is in the middle of.   It will be a hub for supporting people with other concerns, such as financial, emotional or spiritual worries - a place of sanctuary, helping people holistically – physically, mentally and spiritually. 

We are part of the charity Community Transformation, registered charity 1149268 and the website is www.umbrellascoffeehouse.co.uk.



For any further information email jane@umbrellascoffeehouse.co.uk .