During an interregnum in 2010 the church had a prayer meeting one January evening.
I was asking God how we might best love and serve the people of our village of Crofton, Wakefield.
As often happens in my experience in prayer meetings, my mind started to wander.
I got to thinking about those who are lonely in our village; how might we practically love them?
How about I get a group of people together to run a coffee morning on a regular basis aimed at those who live alone?
The church building is not suitable but there is a building in the village used and owned by Crofton Parish Council. It is close to many council properties occupied by single people and some elderly folk.
This would be a good place.
I would not do it under the auspices of the Parish Church or the PCC as this would slow things down and put all sorts of constraints and provisos in the way. Some people might be less inclined to come if it was run by “the church”. I wanted to get it running as soon as possible while I had the enthusiasm and the vision.
My wife and I would be prepared to finance it (though I would have to discuss it with her first!)
I thought of names of those who might form a team.
I had a clear vision of how everything would come together in a fair amount of detail all in the space of about twenty minutes of “prayer”.
Within two months , in March 2010 we were up and running, and in March 2017, we are still going strong.
We meet once a month on a Saturday morning and regularly have around 35 people, to whom we serve tea/coffee, cakes, biscuits, toasted teacakes and occasionally bacon sandwiches.
Many are not church folk, though some are.
We have a great relationship with the village Parish Council who give us a grant to cover the rental of the building. We do not charge, but people are welcome to leave a donation. Parish councillors and Maureen Cummings, our District Councillor, often attend.
Although not run by the church, most of the leaders are Christians from the church and we are well supported by the church.
People who attend Crofton Community Café are now friends, and many will come to events and services at church.
Outreach and mission does not need to have the whole church behind it, or be organised by the vicar or PCC.
If you believe God wants you to do something, strike while the iron is hot and work with what you have instead of bemoaning what you do not have.
I believe that God is not so bothered about bums on seats in church, but that we love those around us as God loves them.
If you have a vision of what God wants you to do, follow it up and just do it!
Richard Sellens worships at Crofton Church.