Church Link February 2016

Church Link February 2016

Dear Friend,

This month we hear from Bev Richardson, one of Alabaré’s volunteer Chaplains who supports our Young People Services.  She writes passionately about shaping chaplaincy together and understanding God’s purpose and plan for our lives.

If Bev’s article inspires you to reach out and help in your local community, don’t forget we have many wonderful opportunities to volunteer with Alabaré.  Read on to find out how you can help play a part in our life changing work.

And don’t forget, this year is our 25th anniversary – if you would like to join us at any of our rededication services for our homes, please email me,


With warm regards,

Keith Thomasson
Senior Chaplain
Alabaré Christian Care & Support


Shaping chaplaincy together

As a Christian I believe that the purpose and meaning of my life and my own spiritual journey is to seek and understand better how I can become more ‘Christ-Like’ by following in Jesus’ perfect example of love and compassion for others, every day.  I look to the scriptures to guide me in Jesus’ example of how he shared his love and compassion with many, especially those people who were struggling with real issues of prejudice, isolation, persecution and injustice and those living on the very edges of society.  He lived amongst those who were considered by others to be outcasts and  it is this example of Jesus’ ministry where  we can find the best example of how to understand God’s purpose and plan for our life and how to really ‘love my neighbour as myself’.

Loving my neighbour really means to have compassion and love for others above and beyond my own selfish needs.  It means helping others who may be facing struggles with their own journey of life, lack of meaning or purpose and accepting them as they are, despite being different to me.  To love someone in this way compels me to want to offer practical love and service,  to build friendships and have fellowship and to find new and better ways to serve in my own community using the gifts and skills God has given to all of us.

My own life journey so far has taught me the importance of spending more time with family and friends gathering around a communal meal together where open conversations flow and close relationships deepen. 

As a volunteer Chaplain at Alabaré, I offer whatever support I am able, or is needed, at the charity’s Young People Services in Andover (The Test Valley Foyer).  I have found that one of the best ways to support the staff and Young People there is to spend time cooking and sharing food with all those who access the services.  As other volunteers and local groups, churches and charities have begun to help too we have started to get to know one another and a deeper understanding and mutual appreciation has developed. This is where love, in the sense of helping our neighbour, really takes shape and true friendships can grow.   What better way of making friends and having fellowship, just like in the early Church when they met together for a ‘love feast’ and shared what they had in support of each other.

As we read the suggested scriptures below we can see how God always provides more than enough, if we are willing to share it. Our task is to steward faithfully what he has given to us. In Acts 2, the early Church found that each person had enough as they lived together as a new community.   We read, “all the believers lived in wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.”

As we begin to shape Chaplaincy at Alabaré let us learn more and humbly set out following in Christ’s example how to love and serve others, our neighbours, and listen and observe as we see individual life’s transformed in response to His love.

Suggested Scripture Readings

  • Acts 2:44-47 – the early Church
  • Colossians 2:2
  • John 13:34
  • Philippians 2:1-5
  • Hebrews 10:24

Questions for reflection

  • Where do I see similarities in my life?
  • Where are there differences?
  • How can I change?
  • How can I be more selfless and giving?
  • What did it feel like when you last helped someone in need?
  • How can I be a better steward of what I have?
  • What steps can I take to make it happen?

Practical Steps To Help Shape our Mission

-       Volunteer

-       Support the cooking project at The Junction

-       Bring a friend to cook or eat

-       Tell a friend about volunteering

-       Help to network with other churches and charities

-       Set aside time each week to support others in practical ways over a meal

What Can My Church Do?

  • Pray for The Test Valley Foyer – the staff and Young People
  • Join in fellowship and friendship at church while sharing about the work of Alabaré
  • Invite a guest speaker from Alabaré to speak at your Church
  • Encourage friends family and colleagues to support the projects run by Alabaré
  • Encourage your Church to display Alabaré’s literature which details the support we offer the most vulnerable in our community.  To discuss your needs, contact a member of the Marketing Team who can advise you on the literature we provide.

Study Materials

  • Read: Evangelli Gaudium by Pope Francis – on ‘the Church’s primary mission of evangelization in the modern world’

Prayer Themes

  1. The volunteers and staff at Alabaré who work with Young People
  2. The supermarkets and food producers to be more conscious of food waste and share with those in need in new and creative ways
  3. Local government to raise more awareness of sharing resources and looking after the environment we live in
  4. Those who directly support Young People, e.g. professionals and practitioners
  5. Those in crisis who need our help in the community

Information For Your Church Newsletter

One of the best ways to support Alabaré is to let people know about the Services we offer.

Each month, Church Link will provide information that can be included in your Church’s newsletters, on their website, be spoken about at prayer groups etc. 

This month, the focus is on volunteering- we hope that it is useful.  If you would like this information in a different format, please email us.

 Do you have some time to spare

Alabaré are looking for people with skills ranging from being part of a committee to supporting vulnerable people in their local community.  We have a variety of roles – gardeners, cooking tutor, committee members, fundraising organiser, craft organiser and lots more. 

 Details of the roles can be found on our website -  

 More information from Jo King – / 01722 344480