In June 2020 when our country was in lockdown, I started my new assignment as a Pastor serving at Gatwick Seventh-day Adventist Church (GAC) and Redhill International Seventh-day Adventist Church (RISDAC) – a district committed to serving God through the community ministries. I found the people of the district to be hands-on, and I could not be less. That is why I applied to become a police chaplain at the Reigate Police Station. Every Tuesday when I am on duty, our churches take turns to provide cupcakes for our police constables. That is my little contribution as the pastor. Now let me share our church leaders’ views in community ministries.
From the GAC, Elder Wilbur Mutambara explains that our local congregation is well known as a community church in and around Crawley town, one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the UK and also sadly known as the furlough capital of UK because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Through Health Expos and Pathfinder activities, GAC has been witnessing for years, becoming well known at most public events, such as the Mela, Black History Month and other functions. The church responded to community needs quickly during the Covid-19 pandemic, establishing the “GAC Food Pantry”. GAC’s Community Ministry Department realises the church’s community vision through member involvement via the Women’s Ministry activities, Men’s Ministry and Pathfinder participation.
GAC was first introduced to the local community 12 years ago by the annual Health Expos at the Crawley International Mela Festival (attended by 10,000 people over three days). GAC participates in the community by our Pathfinders participating and Sanctify Gospel Choir singing at every possible Community event. Crawley Interfaith Network has been impressed by our support at their Homeless Meals projects. Moreover, one of our most renowned church leaders is Sister Marilyn Le Feuvre who lives and breathes community ministry and is ready to lead the response whenever GAC is called upon, and also serving as a committee member of local organisations. We have members involved in Diverse Crawley, Gatwick Detention Welfare Group, Refugees Welcome and Crawley Open House for the Homeless. Our Sister Marilyn was recently recognised by a letter from Susan Pyper, the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, for her support as GAC Community Ministries Director and other bodies serving the community. Sister Marilyn’s vision “aims to continue serving the community by meeting them at their point of need, via the various local organisations.”
Alongside GAC, our grown-up church, RISDAC, was involved in cooking hot meals for the local YMCA. Still, when the pandemic hit hard, we were forced to stop cooking. However, our church members, like Nancy Costa and her team, decided not to let the pandemic impede their commitment. Nancy says: “Here at RISDAC we recognise that to be truly Christian, we need to serve others as Christ did. Our continued regular community work with the local YMCA now exemplifies this, as we support our neighbours in need. This centre houses young people who are struggling with accommodation, drugs, desertion, and similar adversities. Often, the residents do not have any personal care items or clothing: That is our opportunity, where we come in. The youths in our church manage the drive, from seeking donations to delivering the final, beautifully wrapped, boxes. We firmly believe that this is the way to continue our work to the next generation.
Both churches are fully reopened and engaged with our local authorities and MPs seeking to support our community at a district level. Our local leaders and members support our community ministries.
Financially speaking as the pastor, we always see funds as limited, but when the mission starts, then the money comes in. This district aims to foster our members’ spiritual gifts in becoming ministries to honour our God and His church.