God can do anything you know

God can do anything you know

Sharon Lanfear, The Ugly Duckling Company

Jesus said, ‘My purpose is to give life in all its fullness’ (John 10:10) At Mount Zion, we have a passion for enabling people to realise their God-given potential and live life to its fullness, as defined by Jesus. We have a long history going back to 1880, of serving both our local community and the wider world. Our building was originally built as a local school as well as a church, and we have sought to keep this vision of blessing our local community alive.

The building we occupy is a great space, but the problem we faced was that it was 22 steep steps above the pavement, and anyone with limited mobility or a pushchair would find it difficult to enter the front door. Our vision is to see people realise their potential, physically, mentally, spiritually and socially, but if they couldn’t physically enter the building, how could we help?

We believed that God was calling us to change our building, and so in March 2015, we began our Inclusive access and Community Space project. Planning permission was eventually granted, with the local newspaper reported the decision under the headline ‘Holy Surprise.’  We were not surprised, as God was already ahead of us.

God answered our prayers for help through the church family, friends, neighbours, large grant organisations and small donors, who all contributed to raising the £213,000 required. It has been amazing to see how the money came in and how the church family grew together over the fundraising period. We’ve had craft makers, cake bakers, song singers, walkers all doing their bit. It has truly been a massive team effort. We are also incredibly grateful to Lancashire Environment Fund, Garfield Weston, All Churches Trust, Scottish Power Cliviger Social Fund and to many others who have worked so hard to raise funds and give so generously.

Today in 2018, we are now blessed with a lovely light community area, which is multi-functional and is accessed from the pavement via an enclosed lift. We can now run meetings, enjoy cuppas, provide a safe play area and generally enjoy our beautiful surroundings. The most unexpected outcome from the building project was the wonderful atmosphere in the community space and the spectacular view – named by one visitor as ‘a million-pound view.’ Even the installation of a large screen TV and Wi-Fi was providential, as it enabled us to stream the England match during the afternoon of our opening!

The generosity of God was such that we have been able to update our facilities, redecorate the church hall, and through the Scottish Power Cliviger Community Fund, install a safe play surface at the back of the building for our pre-school group to enjoy.

02 waiting for the ceremony to begin.jpeg

During our re-opening celebrations in July, we offered a variety of new community activities in the form of taster sessions, including ‘Crafternoon’, a Community services Information event, dance and boxing-based exercise classes for teenagers, as well as ‘sit and relax with a brew session.’ All of these were carefully selected off the back of a community questionnaire and a review of our existing activities. We offered visitors the opportunity to tell us what they would like to see provided in the Community Space, and we will be working on these suggestions soon.

As we move forward, we are looking forward to running Alpha and a monthly Messy Church from September; it is like the Holy Spirit has recharged us, and we are excited to see where we will be led next. We are holding on to the text recently shared by Rev Simon Mattholie, who preached at our morning service during our week-long opening celebration.

‘God can do anything you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams. He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.’ (Ephesians 3: 20-21, MSN)  

Here at Mount Zion Church Cliviger, we can testify to this, and are also expectant of even more to come!

Shirley Ashworth (Project coordinator)
Mount Zion Church Cliviger