TM Liskeard praying for Thy Kingdom to keep on coming
If Thy Kingdom came, Christian ventures like Transforming Mission would be unstoppable. Cornwall would be ablaze with praise, we would all be living in harmony and every church of every denomination would be bursting at the seams. Sadly, we’re not there – yet. So it is that hopeful initiatives like Transforming Mission encounter more than their fair share of bumps on the road.
Yet, despite the detractors, that hope of transformation is taking root. In Liskeard, it isn’t just green shoots but young trees that are beginning to flourish. From Alpha courses and bereavement journeys to football, holiday clubs and women’s ministry, lives are being transformed through the resources that the TM Liskeard team have made available.
Prayer underpinning hope
All of this has been underpinned by prayer. The TM Liskeard team, based at St Martins, have led four days of 24 hours of prayer sessions over the past year, in conjunction with other churches and other denominations across the town. “Our curate Phil is our champion when it comes to prayer!” says Operations Manager Nikki Carter. “He got us all organised, using the 24-7 Prayer resources devised by Pete Grieg. We shared the burden, or the joy, with four other churches, making as much physical space available as possible, then we all came together for an evening of worship. It was great.”
Rooted for Women
From these foundations, initiatives like Rooted for Women came about. “There is a need for connection, especially following the lockdowns,” says Nikki. “Many women, including staff members who joined us during that time, found it hard to find a community and make friends. I was contacted by Lisa Daniels who, alongside her husband, pastors a church in Gloucester who mooted the idea of leading a day for women’s ministry. Lisa’s parents came to faith here at St Martin’s, encouraged by the warm welcome they received, so Lisa has a soft spot for us – and I used to babysit for her!”
The day was a huge success. “It was a first for us and I didn’t know what to expect but felt God encouraging me to cater for 50 women. I wasn’t convinced, just as I wasn’t convinced that I needed to prepare as many craft materials as I did. But He was right in every respect. 50 women joined us, and there wasn’t a time throughout the day that the materials weren’t being used.” Providing lunch was significant. “Women are always expected to provide! To roll up their sleeves, bring something, share something. We wanted a day when they could just relax and surrender completely to what was on offer.”
“Women are always expected to provide! To roll up their sleeves, bring something, share something. We wanted a day when they could just relax and surrender completely to what was on offer.”
Abiding and remaining steadfast, despite the storm
The speaker, Lisa Daniels, has a moving testimony following her cancer diagnosis just after giving birth to her first child. She framed the day around John 15, where Jesus calls us to abide in Him and Psalm 112:7, ‘They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.’ It was an emotional day. “It was a safe space. Women heard each other’s stories and yes, cried together – but in a good way!” It was so successful the team will are planning to run another one on November 19th.
The men haven’t been left out. Tough Talk are leading a session for men in October, so look at St Martin’s website for details.
Dealing with death while ‘doing life’
As a church, St Martins and the TM Liskeard team have asked themselves some big questions over the past few years, especially during and since Covid. What is community? What does ‘doing life’ together actually mean? And how do we support each other and what does discipleship look like in a busy life? One fact of ‘doing life’ is death, and the manner of dying was painfully traumatic for too many during the lockdowns. Out of those lived experiences the team began a Bereavement Journey course.
The Bereavement Journey was pioneered by our friends at HTB, the same people that developed Alpha. Through films and sensitive discussion, people who are bereaved, recently or even years ago, are gently guided through the most common aspects of grief. Loss, pain, adjustment, maybe anger or guilt, coping with other people’s reactions and learning to move forward. There’s also an optional extra session from a faith perspective, making the Bereavement Journey accessible for people of any faith or none. All places have been booked for the next course, but there will be more throughout the year.
How the personal becomes public
For Operations Manager Nikki, living and sharing her faith in Liskeard is personal. “I grew up here. I used to work in a live music bar. So, I loved walking around the recent music event, the Ploughman’s Festival, in Liskeard, wearing a St Martins’ T-shirt saying, ‘Want to Pray? Just ask’. It’s very poignant seeing people at different stages of their lives, and for people to see me. I have a few teenage moments of my own that I’d perhaps like to forget! But thankfully God deals with all our baggage and uses them for His glory.”
“It’s very poignant seeing people at different stages of their lives, and for people to see me. I have a few teenage moments of my own that I’d perhaps like to forget! But thankfully God deals with all our baggage and uses them for His glory, ” says Nikki Clark, Operations Manager for TM Liskeard.
He’s certainly using Nikki. Because she is known and trusted in the town, she daily demonstrates that the word church doesn’t have to be synonymous with weird. It really can be part of everyday life, central to community, especially a church like St Martins that puts community at its centre. The Ploughman’s Festival was a great example of that. “They reached out to us. After we ran a stand at the Liskeard Show, the organisers of the Ploughman asked if we could do something similar. We were the only people offering free children’s activities – face-painting, badge making, henna tattoos. And we were rammed!” Nikki took full advantage of the henna tattoos, looking very trendy sporting one on her arm.
Reaching the missing generations through football, holiday and school clubs
From their participation at the Ploughman’s, children they met came along to Blaze Holiday club. This is an extension of St Martin’s weekly term-time kid’s club. In these times when school holidays can be an expensive head and heartache for parents, a holiday club is a blessing. There can be no better way to reach the missing generations by fulfilling a need, offering practical help and living out what it truly means to love thy neighbour.
A shoutout for more prayer, less bumps and greater encouragement
The TM team at Liskeard, and at all the TM venues and extended parishes across Cornwall, are doing all they can to welcome Thy Kingdom. Nurturing the fruits and giving them space to grow. Here’s a shout-out for more prayer for the teams, less bumps and greater encouragement.
While you’re here, the TM Liskeard team are looking for a new Children’s Leader. The closing date is September 7th, but follow the link to find out more.