Or, nothing is wasted with God, as Joy Dimond, Missional Listener in Stow on the Wold explains.
My cat, Bertie went missing!!! The first person I encountered on my frantic search was a neighbour. She posted on Stow Community Facebook a request for everyone to look out for Bertie. She also put me in touch with one of the churchwardens at St Edwards Parish Church, (Bertie likes to go into the rectory garden) and arranged for us to meet and search the unoccupied rectory in case Bertie was shut in. The churchwarden and I chatted as we searched the house and this was an opportunity to share more about Missional Listening in Stow.
A week or so later, (Bertie was found a couple of days after he went missing, having been shut in a shed at a retail shop!!) I received a call from the churchwarden inviting me to do a Q & A session at their Harvest Festival to talk about the Foodbank and my role as Missional Listener here in Stow. A great opportunity to share how God led me here and how to join in with what He is doing in this community.
This Bertie induced contact with the churchwarden), has led to a meeting with a member of the PCC at St Edwards Church here in Stow. They are in the process of recruiting a Priest in Charge with a three-year tenure. The recruitment process is lengthy and, if a suitable applicant is found, they would not be in post until late summer 2023.
Working with the Town Council the PCC have released a source of funding for ‘Community Use’ and we are able to use the funds to support a case worker for our regular Foodbank Citizens Advice worker. Working together with the PCC we have identified a ‘warm space’ each weekday afternoon in various locations around the community and are planning to publish a community newsletter to promote this and other services.
The North Cotswold Foodbank, which we partner with, has seen a 126% increase in need over the summer months and this is before the winter sets in with the increasing costs. We are anticipating a significant rise in need here in Stow.
There are other wonderful ways God has been wonderful in recent months it is just a case of being patient with God’s timing (very patient sometimes, as he is with us) and just listening and watching and waiting for him to move.