One big family

May 19, 2006

ATMOSPHERES like these can only be generated by a people being truly “together”. Without TV and other distractions, personalities can grow and fit together as comfortably as old shoes – it makes for a loving family where friends and strangers alike can come and find their place.

“A friendly face answers the door. Saints are sunk deep in sofas waiting for friends to arrive, children play, there’s a warm smell of food floating in from the kitchen. A minibus arrives and out tumbles a handful of lively-looking youth. Then more people arrive. The leader, Richard, shares some thoughts and the presence of God can be felt reaching into the hearts of the people. A refreshing time of worship, and then we chill: out come the drums, and the toys, and the tea.”


“Thursday evenings at Palm Tree are warm and welcoming. The nine residents, joined by friends, gather in the lounge. Palm Tree member, Phil, takes centre stage with a selection of amusing anecdotes. Others take turns sharing about their own comings and goings and concerns. There is a noticeable emphasis on the well being of friends outside the house. Prayers are prayed for all with a sincere “Amen!” before going on to the meal which, like the atmosphere, is very warming.”


“Arriving at Cornerstone is like arriving at a country stately home. People are working in the grounds and keeping the house tidy. It’s an opportunity to join in and get to know people and there are fresh scones available to nibble on. Dinner comes as the work is finished, a fire is lit, and we begin and end with a simple prayer, a prayer of friendship and heartfelt love.”


“As we arrived people were singing a popular Christian song about reaching out with the love of Jesus. About 20 friends, of all nationalities, joined in. The atmosphere was warm and accepting. A short prayer before we gathered around tables to eat, just like one big family. We talked about life, work and washing up! And after dinner the conversations flowed into other rooms.”


“Friendship night is fish and chips night at the Jesus Fellowship’s community house in South Wales. During early evening the 10 – 12 regular visitors make their way from their homes in different parts of Swansea to travel “up the hill” to Tân Sanctaidd. “It’s a relaxed, informal night to introduce new friends to the church,” explained leader, Victor. “Fish and chips has become our tradition!”


“’We come in all kinds of ages – nought to ninety five’ – so the song goes, but for Living Faith it’s actually from one to eighty eight! Thursday nights here are characterised by lively kids (so many that they have their own mini-meal before the main one), expressive worship (lots) and yummy food (plenty). As the song puts it, ‘The love of God is the superglue that keeps this family strong.’”