The Rivers Team are a work in progress in becoming a welcoming place of healing and wholeness for all; this is some of the progress we have made.
We have worked on our welcome for people attending our services and events. For instance, at our Sunday team service, our Hospitality Team serve a range of drinks and tasty treats before and after the service. Most of our hospitality is self-service, which means those who wish to avoid approaching others can access refreshments too. Refreshments are not taken away from the back of the church during the service, so those running late and those choosing to avoid socialising can access refreshments as well. Serving this way means there is food available for those who don’t have anything in at home too (this happens from time to time). We also use the times of fellowship before and after services to informally offer prayer for healing as well as offering visits to homes (by appointment to) to pray. Recently there was a testimony of miraculous healing of tumours, so we are encouraged at this time.
Last year we enjoyed a sermon series called Emotional Encounters with God, which looked at some examples of mental health from the bible and explored how God responded this was a useful time of learning together as we emerged from the pandemic and led to us exploring how we can support members with mental health needs. We now have 2 trained Mental Health First Aiders and 2 Mental Health Champions (one is 16 years old and attends the youth group) and have partnered with Kintsugi Hope Ministry. We recently hosted our first Kintsugi Hope Group at Tinsley Meadows J&I School for staff. Although this was a small beginning, we believe one participant was greatly impacted and a trusting relationship is being established with the school. An Art Team have also produced some amazing artwork promoting wellbeing, an example would be a huge beautiful lion with the words ‘no longer a slave to fear’.
To reach out to bereaved families a Bereavement Team has been established with ministry and visiting roles. Through this ministry some bereaved family members have accepted invitations to join social and worship events during the week. We reach out to the lonely, offering community social events and some acts of worship in 4 different locations regularly across the team. A recent medical emergency at one of these events was handled well but caused some distress. It has led us to arrange emergency first aid training for 15 team members. We aim to increase our confidence as a team that we can deal with physical health emergencies too.
The River’s Team – Find out more