Around 700 Christians, from across the church denominations and from across the Borough of Southend-on-Sea, crammed into Clifftown United Reformed Church – the closest that we have to a ‘civic church’, apart from St. Mary’s in Prittlewell – last Saturday evening to celebrate the work of LOVE SOUTHEND so far, and to hear about their exciting plans for the future.
Along with speakers such as Rev. Jim Hamilton of Shoebury Baptist Church, Mark Churchward of Southend Christian Fellowship and the Rural Dean of Southend, Rev. Martin Harris, we heard of how the Street Pastors were due to hit the streets of Southend from 28th May; how the LOVE SOUTHEND urban regeneration initiatives had impressed the local Council – not least the two that had taken place in the Milton Ward, now regarded as one of the five most deprived Wards in the county – and about the forthcoming Youth Mission week – a mission with a difference, in that hundreds of young Christians from all over the Borough will be taking a week out in July, to spend their time repainting school-playgrounds, clearing alleyways of rubbish and cleaning off graffiti from walls across Southend-on-Sea…for free.
And now LOVE SOUTHEND is about to see another pair of local events come under it’s banner – Fiona Castle, the wife of the late Roy Castle, will be hosting an evening of jazz, interviews and film at Leigh Road Baptist Church on Wednesday, 18th May, from 8-9.30pm, where she will be sharing stories of her life, as well as the hopes and dreams, which God gives her. Tickets are free, but it’s first come first served.
The following night is Kingdom Come – The Life Of Christ, performed by Eric Petrossian at Clarence Road Baptist Church, from 7.30-9.15pm.
Before then, there’s another piece of LOVE SOUTHEND urban regeneration. Avenue Baptist Church, together with St. Bernards’ High School are joining forces to clear up litter in the Milton Ward. Everyone involved is meeting at Avenue Baptist at 9.30am and will, once again be working for free to improve the local area.
Chair Jonathan Ullmer: “LOVE SOUTHEND is all about local Christians trying to serve the local community – and all the while, attempting to point towards the unconditional love that God has, for every one of us.”