July Church Link

Dear Friend,

Our paths are united.

We have a story to share of our work that resonates with the call your church is answering; to serve God through supporting those on the margins of society. In a significant way Alabaré is working with God in his mission through the support we give to those who access our homes and services.

‘Ministry is, first of all, receiving God’s blessing from those to whom we minister. What is this blessing? It is a glimpse of the face of God’.

(Source: Here and Now).

At Alabaré we would like these words of the Dutch Roman Catholic priest Henri Nouwen to resonate within you. At Alabaré we glimpse God in the face of the other, those whom we serve.

We hope our regular Church Link publications provide you with an opportunity for you to meet some of the people whose lives have been touched by Alabaré, and to see our work in action.  We ask for your support with this ministry: in prayer, in people offering to volunteer and in your individual and your church’s financial support.

 As part of our partnership with local Churches, we would like to offer you resources to use in your church community for learning and worship, to help you explore some of the issues around homelessness with your congregations.

 In the next few weeks we will be sending you a resource pack that highlights some aspect of our work. We have linked each of these to an event in the Church calendar.  The pack contains information on how to access web resources that we have developed that complement your celebration of the church’s year. Our website church resources will be periodically added to and begin with harvest. We hope the resources will help to bring the voice of those who are marginalised in society further into your consciousness. Why not take a look at the five themes we are adopting for the forthcoming year.

We hope that you will use the resources, and give us feedback together with suggestions for the future. Please tell us what would be useful for you. And of course an excellent way to hear more of the work of Alabaré is to invite a member of our team to visit you and share with you the how the amazing work of Alabaré is blessing many.

Keith Thomasson - Senior Chaplain

This months Church Link outlines our work within the Emmaus Community. Alabaré runs a provision for adults with learning disabilities over three Emmaus homes in Salisbury. Residents eat together and have a prayer before the meal. In each home residents eat together and pray before their meals. In one of the homes chaplain Reverend Heather is supporting residents in nurturing their faith in community. 

Reverend Heather tells us about the importance in the Emmaus Community of being together, hearing stories and worshipping;

"Christianity, with its emphasis on the Eucharist, is a religion that understands the importance of coming round the table together to share food  - food is a key part of making a place not merely a place but a place of hospitality, a place where we can be welcomed and nurtured. 

When I visit the Emmaus Community house as a Chaplin, the residents create a wonderfully welcoming environment as we gather around the table to share food and stories from our lives. Each person has much to offer, both in terms of practically helping to either prepare the food or clear away after, and in sharing something of themselves as we interact over dinner, often at the end of a busy day for us all. It is a place in which I am nurtured - and hopefully nurture others!"

Suggested Scripture Readings and associated questions for reflections:

Luke 19:1-10
Who are the marginalised in your local community who might appreciate sharing a meal?

 John 6:5-15
What small gifts can I offer that God might be able to take, bless and use?

Prayer Themes
We give thanks for the Emmaus communities, for the residents and staff, and pray that they may be strengthened in their life together.
Prayer Focus: Fotherby House, The Emmaus Christian Community

Gemma, the Senior at Fotherby House - she recently joined the Emmaus team and tells us her first opinion of the homes;
"Alabaré provides Christian Care and Support and warmly welcomes any individuals who require support and help along their life journey. Alabaré's heart-warming approach. I am glad to be part of such a warm community, it's all about spreading kindness, help and support as far as you can enable others to do the same. Alabaré has a positive mission encouraging clients and staff to be progressive and optimistic and see the real value of support and at Fotherby we are very glad to be part of it. We are at present looking for volunteers that can spare a few hours a week to spend time chatting or doing activities and supporting our clients, we would be very grateful for any friendly face for our clients and staff to get to know you." 
We are delighted to welcome our new Chaplin, Andrew Howes to Fotherby House. Andrew is supporting our staff and residents. 
"I would like to say what a pleasure it was having Andrew visit Fotherby as Chaplain. He lifted the client and staff spirit and we had such a lovely time and got some great ideas with lovely prayers too. We had a song which was full of positivity."
Thanks to Knoticat, some of our clients with learning disabilities were given the opportunity to sail around the beautiful waters of Poole Harbour. Gina Vickers, our Learning Disabilities Manager went along to experience the day with them; 

'As we left for the harbour the minibus was filled with both excitement and nervousness. One of the group had never been out on the water before and was eager to experience it for the first time. We arrived at the waterside where we were met by the skipper of Knoticat. He made sure that we all had life jackets and as soon as we had been given the safety talk we headed out on the water. We sailed around Brownsea Island, it was great fun. We stopped for lunch on the water, the engine was turned off, it was very peaceful, the clients really enjoyed it. 

On our way back we all had a go at steering the Catamaran, everyone was able to get hands on and really got the feel of sailing. One of the group, Mark found huge enjoyment monitoring the on board computer system learning how deep the water was below the boat.  Jo, another group member loved it when the Catamaran went fast on its way back to the harbour. I found it funny when the spray was blowing back at us. 

We would like to say a huge thank you to Robert Derham who made the day possible, everyone had a fantastic time and certainly slept well that night!'
Give the gift of volunteering
Each of you should use whatever gift you have recieved to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace" 1 Peter 4.10 Jesus came to serve not be served. 

Each one of us has at least one gift and within our volunteering team, we have many who have chosen to share their gifts to support our work.  On speaking to a volunteer who helps in our learning disability writing club he said “to see Mike so happy today as he was thinking about things which were special to him was wonderful”.  Our team of volunteers work from being involved on the front line – with those who we house as they are homeless, those who have a veterans background, young people who have been thrown out of their homes or have been in care all their lives and those who live in our learning disability homes – to being part of one of our committees, come to our Head Office in Salisbury to do administration / projects / finance. 

Do we have an opportunity where you could use your gifts?  Have a look on our website - -   http://www.alabare.co.uk/volunteer  to see if there is something there you could help with.  Look forward to hearing from you.